Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth called the founding fathers “dead traitors” and said President Trump should stop defending them.
Instead, during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, the Democrat argued Trump “should listen to the argument” of removing statues, including those of George Washington.
The senator’s comments come in response to President Trump’s address at Mount Rushmore on Friday where he defended the national icons.
Here’s a partial transcript of the interview, from Axios:
DANA BASH: “Senator, I know that you support change in the name of military bases named after Confederate leaders, but there are leaders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who were slave owners. And some people are demanding their monuments come down, too. In your view, where does it end? Should statues, for example, of George Washington come down?”
DUCKWORTH: “Well, let me just say we should start off by having a national dialogue on it at some point. But right now we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. And one of our countries that are opposed to us, Russia, has put a bounty on American troops’ heads. What really struck me about this speech that the president gave at Mount Rushmore was that he spent more time worried about honoring dead Confederates than he did talking about the lives of our 130,000 Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19, or by warning Russia off of the bounties they’re putting on Americans’ heads. His priorities are all wrong here. He should be talking about what we’re going to do to overcome this pandemic. What are we going to do to push Russia back? Instead, he had no time for that. He spent all his time talking about dead traitors.”
BASH: “That may be true, but George Washington, I don’t think anybody would call him a traitor and there are moves by some to remove statues of him. Is that a good idea?”
DUCKWORTH: “I think we should listen to everybody. I think we should listen to the argument there, but remember that the president at Mount Rushmore was standing on ground that was stolen from Native Americans who had actually been given that land during a treaty.”
As the Federalist reports, Trump referenced a number of people during his speech. This includes the presidents of Mount Rushmore, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Elvis Presley.
“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said during his remarks.
He added: “Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.”
The Trump campaign sought clarification from the Democratic senator as to who she was referring to as a “dead traitor.”
This a list of the men and women President @realDonaldTrump talked about in his speech at Mount Rushmore.
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 5, 2020