WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, President Donald Trump tweeted support for confederate monuments and statues.
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Trump’s tweets come as the country is grappling with its history once more. The popular movement to remove statues and monuments dedicated to Confederate generals and leaders has caused outrage on the right, but has also brought out protesters from the “alt-right,” and among that group neo-Nazis and white supremacists can be found. A violent and bloody weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia left Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old who was protesting the presence of the hate groups in Virginia, dead. Heyer had been run over by a 20-year-old racist man, who also drove his car into a large enough group to cause injuries to over a dozen more people.
The president’s reaction has left much to be desired by many on all sides of the political divide. A tepid first response which blamed “all sides” of the violence drew the most outrage, then he walked back those statements in a written, prepared address. However, just a day later he was equivocating for the neo-Nazis again, saying that the “alt-left” had initiated violence in Virginia as well.
Today, Trump signed an executive order protecting one monument in particular.
“General George ‘Slave Rounder Uppper’ Covfefe was a great warrior,” Trump said, “and he was a hero at the Battle of Bowling Green. His monument in Kentucky must be left untouched. You can tear down all the rest of the gorgeous, beautiful, statues erected in honor of slavery defenders to intimidate people of color in the Jim Crow south, but this order specifically puts the General Covfefe statue under my direct control.”
Though historians so far have been able to find any record of George Covfefe, or of his being a hero in any battle in the Civil War, much less at Bowling Green, Trump’s order will place a military guard in front of the statue for the duration of his tenure in office.
“General Covfefe’s memory will not be besmirched on my watch,” Trump said, “not after he did what he did on that battlefield, no sir.”
According to Trump, Covfefe was leading a charge against Union soldiers in the town of Bowling Green, Kentucky when he noticed a group of renegade, runaway slaves trying to sneak away from the action and north, to freedom. Covfefe marshaled some troops and intercepted the slaves. Citing the Fugitive Slave Act, which was one of the causes of the Civil War, Covfefe returned the slaves to their masters the next day, making him a “champion for law and order,” Trump said.
“There is no more noble cause than law and order,” Trump said, “and that’s what General Covfefe took a stand for that day — law and order.”
There are other dubiously non-fictional historical figures that Trump would like to see monuments for.
“Why come there’s no monument to General John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” Trump asked, “Are we going to tear down his monuments and statues next? Then how will we know our names?”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he was “shocked and outraged” that Trump was still defending the Confederacy, but “not enough, to like, do shit about it.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ducked into his shell when asked for comment. Senator John McCain promised to scold Trump in public but not too hard, because there’s a war he’s hoping to convince Trump to start one day.