President Donald Trump began another social media outrage after he made comments praising Robert E. Lee, the famed Civil War general, at a speech in Ohio – but his comments are being misrepresented.
“Robert E. Lee was a great general”
Trump told a story from the Civil War of President Abraham Lincoln dealing with the victories of confederate general Robert E. Lee.
“So Robert E. Lee was a great general,” Trump told the audience. “And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia.”
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“He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” he explained. “He was going crazy.”
“I don’t know if you know this story,” he continued. “But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle.”
The media reported Trump’s comments as praise for the confederate army general, implying a racist dog whistle on the part of the president in favor of the confederates. Many on the left jumped on the comments as evidence that Trump sympathized with the confederacy.
Here’s what actually happened
Much of the media didn’t report the conclusion of the story Trump was telling the audience.
“And one day it was looking really bad and Lincoln just said you hardly knew his name,” he said, “and they said don’t take him he’s got a drinking people.”
“And Lincoln said I don’t care what problem he has, you guys aren’t winning,” Trump continued. “And his name was Grant, General Grant. And he went in and he knocked the hell out of everyone.”
To further undermine the narrative of a dog whistle to his audience, the crowd did not applaud at the sound of Robert E. Lee’s name, but applauded loudly when Trump mentioned Grant.
Here’s an example of the media distorting Trump’s comments: