On Monday morning, Fox & Friends commemorated the sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by equating the 9/11 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to Confederate monuments.
During an interview with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, host Brian Kilmeade noted that Zinke joined the show from Shanksville, and asked him, “Do you worry 100 years from now someone’s gonna try to take that memorial down like they’re trying to remake our memorials today?”
Zinke didn’t object to the comparison.
“Well, I’m one that believes, you know, we should learn from history, and I think our monuments are part of our country’s history,” he said. “We can learn from it. Since we don’t put up statues of Jesus, everyone is gonna fall morally short, and I think reflecting on our history — both good and bad — is a powerful statement and part of our DNA.”
Zinke went on to make a case that national monuments — apparently even including those built to commemorate those who fought for slavery — are meant to be “a tribute” to everyone.
“So I’m an advocate of, again, learning from our monuments, understanding the period that they were made, but also we live in a great country, and monuments are not Republican, Democrat, independent — the monuments are a tribute to all of us,” he said.
Speaking at the Antietam National Battlefield in July, Zinke defended the Confederate monuments that are in national parks, saying, “Don’t rewrite history.”
“Understand it for what it is and teach our kids the importance of looking at our magnificent history as a country and why we are what we are,” he added.
But Zinke’s support for preserving monuments only goes so far. He recently recommended that President Trump reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon in order to make room for oil and gas drilling and mining.
Kilmeade isn’t the first Trump supporter to worry that removing Confederate monuments will lead to a slippery slope ultimately imperiling 9/11 memorials. During a radio interview last month, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) equated removing Confederate monuments with destroying the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
“Listen, whether we like it or not, this is what our history is,” he added, “It’s just like going to New York City and taking down the monument to those who perished in 9/11 — it will come to that.”