White House chief of staff John Kelly, generally viewed as the man whose mission is to keep controversy at bay, finds himself caught up in another one. Kelly is taking flak for his comments about the Civil War, made Monday night on the debut of Laura Ingraham's show on Fox, reports CNN. "The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War," said Kelly. "And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand." Critics are pouncing mainly because Kelly made no mention of slavery, and the New York Times reports that the pushback arrived in fast and furious fashion. "Slavery. Slavery was what they wouldn't compromise over," read one typical tweet highlighted in the paper.
Critics drew comparisons to President Trump's blame of "both sides" for the racial violence in Charlottesville, reports the Washington Post. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., called Kelly's comments "irresponsible & dangerous, especially when white supremacists feel emboldened, to make fighting to maintain slavery sound courageous." Kelly also praised Gen. Robert E. Lee as an "honorable man" who "gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country." And he touched on the debate over Confederate monuments, saying the idea of tearing them down is "just very, very dangerous, and it shows you what, how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is."