Gov. Matt Bevin appeared to change his position Tuesday on moving the statue of Jefferson Davis — the president of the Confederate States of America — from the rotunda of the state capitol building in Frankfort.
While campaigning for governor in 2015 he said the Davis statue should be removed, and that “parts of our history are more appropriately displayed in museums, not on government property.” However, in a radio interview Tuesday morning he said that he absolutely disagrees with attempts to remove confederate statues, calling it the “sanitization of history.”
In a press conferencelater that day, Bevin denied that statement, saying, “I said ‘revisionist history.’ Again, ‘sanitize’ is your word.” The governor also said that he never supported removing confederate monuments from government property, comparing this “dangerous precedent” to that of genocidal movements of the past.
“When you look at what people like a Pol Pot did, or a Stalin did, or a Hitler did, one of the first things you do is you remove any semblance of culture and of history, you try to be revisionist,” said Bevin. “You look what people are doing with ISIS, with the destruction of any kind of history of a different culture when they move into a new territory. I think it is a very dangerous precedent to pretend that your history is not your history.”
Sen. McConnell had also come out in support of moving the Davis statue in 2015, but unlike Bevin, his spokesman Robert Steurer told IL that the senator still stands by his statement.
Brad Bowman, the spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, issued a statement expressing support for moving the confederate statues in Frankfort and Lexington: “We are not sanitizing history. We are standing against racism, hate and bigotry. This issue rises above politics. We owe that to every Kentuckian.”
In the same press conference on Tuesday, Bevin also said that it was important to call out any bigotry, whether it comes from a white nationalist or “if it comes from a Black Lives Matter person.”
“There should be no tolerance of people that are intolerant of other people as it relates to their race — in this case is what we’re talking about, supremacy of either side of the equation,” said Bevin. “The people can pretend there’s not two sides. There’s people that are as hateful of people based on their color on all sides of the color spectrum. It’s unacceptable, unacceptable.”
Bevin's twin false equivalence arguments, that 1) removing Confederate monuments is "erasure of history" that only tyrants and terrorists do, and that 2) Black Lives Matter and other groups standing up to white supremacists are just as violent somehow, are both part and parcel of the white supremacist playbook. The goal is to normalize these views and it's yet another example of Republicans moving to demonize their political opponents for daring to oppose them.
Why Gov. Bevin would make these demonstrably false arguments especially given Donald Trump's awful behavior is beyond my comprehension other than to lead one to believe that Bevin too sympathizes with white supremacist traitors who lost a civil war 150 years ago over the continuation of slavery.
As such, I expect his swift resignation from his office in Frankfort.
This won't happen of course, but this is another direct effect of Trump's garbage: other Republicans are copying his racist nonsense.
How many will continue to get away with it? The worse the Kentucky Democrats are saying is that we need to "rise above politics".
That's not going to cut it, guys.