During a recent interview on an Arkansas radio station, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AK) seconded President Trump’s opposition to taking down Confederate monuments, and characterized those who want to remove tributes to white supremacy from public areas as wanting to “sanitize history and make it politically correct so that everybody can breathe easy and not feel any level of offense.”
Echoing the slippery-slope argument Trump has repeatedly invoked, Crawford expressed concern that removing Confederate monuments could lead to the destruction of Roman statues and usher in a broader “global history sanitation movement that basically says all of these statues have to come down because they might offend some people.”
“At what point are we gonna shut down the Holocaust Museum?” Crawford said, conflating a museum commemorating victims of Nazi violence with Confederate monuments that serve as tributes to slavery and white supremacy. “Is that on the agenda at any point, because it makes people uncomfortable? I mean, it never stops.”
Crawford went on to question how many people even object to monuments of Confederate leaders in the first place.
“Who was really walking around letting this weigh on him in 2017?” he said. “How many people can drive by the courthouse and see a state of Robert E. Lee and find that just so offensive that they can’t carry on their day?”
“Let’s get past all that stuff and just use those as points in history and try to remember.”
Crawford later took aim at former President Obama and Democrats.
“Where was President Obama when five police officers were assassinated in Dallas?” Crawford asked, ignoring the fact that Obama traveled to Dallas in the summer of 2016 and delivered a speech denouncing a shooting he described as “an act not just of demented violence but of racial hatred.”
“How much more information do you need when a radical Islamist comes into a nightclub in Orlando and kills multiple people, how much more information do you need to denounce radical Islam?” he added. “In San Bernardino, when 14 people are killed by a radical Islamist couple, how much information do you need to denounce that act?”
Crawford later offered another false equivalence, this time between the white supremacist violence that happened in Charlottesville and other incidents that weren’t as unambiguously motivated by racial hatred. He criticized Democrats for expecting Trump to quickly and unambiguously denounce white supremacists, and for then calling him out when he failed to do so.
“We still don’t hear from folks on the left and leadership in the Democrat party,” he said. “They reserve judgment because they don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings and they want a complete account of everything that happened before they make a statement. But they don’t give us that same courtesy when they decide that a statement needs to be made, it needs to be made now and to their satisfaction, and then it’s a complete meltdown because the president didn’t respond as quickly as they thought he should.”
Trump cited a desire to “see the facts” while attempting to explain his several-day delay between the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and the half-hearted statement he read denouncing white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. But even after the facts were made clear, Trump subsequently defended white supremacists, telling reporters during a news conference last week that he thought there “were very fine people on both sides.”