Coates: It's 'Shocking' Kelly Is So Ignorant on Civil War

Writer rebuts White House chief of staff's assertion that inability to compromise caused it
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2017 1:10 PM CDT
Ta-Nehisi Coates Unleashes Tweetstorm on John Kelly
White House Chief of Staff Chief of Staff John Kelly.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

White House chief of staff John Kelly has been taking criticism over comments he made about the Civil War, mainly because he said the war was caused by "the lack of an ability to compromise" and made no mention of slavery. Now, Ta-Nehisi Coates has issued a rebuttal in the form of a 31-tweet stream, per the Hill. "Shocking that someone charged with defending their country, in some profound way, does not comprehend the country they claim to defend," Coates writes in one of the most damning tweets, after disputing some of Kelly's assertions. He points out that prior to the war, multiple "compromises" were made to appease slave-owners, but they failed to prevent the conflict. A few of his notable tweets:

  • "Notion that Civil War resulted from a lack of compromise is belied by all the compromises made on enslavement from America's founding."
  • In the war, slavery proponents "did not merely want to preserve the right to own people, they wanted to expand that right."
  • "Praising Bobby Lee as an honorable man is just sad. Like some kid insisting his deadbeat dad is actually a secret agent away on a mission."
  • "Notion that we are putting today's standards on the past is, in itself, racist--implies only white, slave-holding, opinions matter."
  • "Been a lot of hemming and hawing over the term 'white supremacist.' Fools who won't be satisfied until Trump literally lynches someone."
Coates isn't the only Kelly critic. The Washington Post talks to historians who think Kelly's view of things is skewed. He's parroting an "old reconciliationist narrative" that has been disproven, says one. (Read more Ta-Nehisi Coates stories.)

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