Former White House Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visits WSJ at Large with Gerry Baker at Fox Business Network studios on August 01, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, told ABC’s “This Week” that he found it “a little strange” that protesters in San Francisco took down a statue of former President Ulysses S. Grant, who also served as commanding general of the United States Army, which won the Civil War.
Emanuel said that Grant was responsible for prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan.
“I find this a little strange on two fronts. One is Ulysses S. Grant, number one, he directed his attorney general to prosecute the KKK. The KKK, if you know history, doesn’t come back until 1920 because of what Ulysses S. Grant did,” said Emanuel.
“Second, I would just say this as a Jewish American, Ulysses S. Grant signed Order 11 which was really quite anti-Semitic in the Vicksburg campaign and realizes when he becomes president what he had done was wrong, appoints a number of Jews to his administration and the first president to visit a synagogue,” he said.
“I actually think we should take a step back in all this process. You can’t whitewash history, and you can’t white it out, and Ulysses S. Grant is a president who has his faults. He’s human, but he’s accomplished a great deal to get America right,” the former Obama chief of staff said.
“In the same way, I happen to think Roosevelt’s one of the greatest presidents. He interred the Japanese in this country. He didn’t allow the St. Louis ship in 1938 to come to the shores of the United States, and given information never bombed Auschwitz. On the other hand, he accomplished great things,” Emanuel said.
“They’re flawed, and rather than reject our history, we should learn from our history, and toppling that statue Ulysses S. Grant – I understand the desire, and I don’t want to throw it in with a bunch from the Civil War honoring Confederate soldiers. That is a mistake, and it’s wrong. He made mistakes, but on the other hand, you learn from that and he learned from it and became a better president when he did wrong,” he added.