Clyburn beats activists who knocked down Ulysses S. Grant statue: "No one was more anti-slavery"

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Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat in the House of Representatives, said "The Story" on Tuesday that activists calling for the removal of statues across the country have gone too far by focusing on representations of George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant.

"I have no idea what they know or don't know," Clyburn told host Martha MacCallum. "I know what I know … and I know that no one was more anti-slavery than Ulysses S. Grant. However, I saw the other day that someone interpreted that he had married a family of slave owners that he [was] Disqualified.

"I couldn't disagree more," added Clyburn. "I think he should be judged on his own merits."

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Clyburn joined "The Story" hours after Joe Biden broached the subject during his first press conference in 89 days.

"I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, etc., who strongly supported secession and slavery maintenance, and going to war to do it, I think those statues belong to a museum," Biden said. "They don't belong in public places."

However, Biden also said that "the idea of ​​comparing whether George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and someone who was in rebellion and betrayed by trying to tear down a union to maintain slavery, I think there is a distinction."

"I think the vice president threaded the needle quite well," said Clyburn.

"I quite agree … the fact is that yes, he [Washington] was a slave owner. But do you remember what happened to his slaves at the end of his reign? He freed them."

Clyburn continued: "Yes, Thomas Jefferson had slaves. He never fought for the destruction of the country. He never tried to preserve slavery as a way of life despite any deficiencies it may have had."

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Without going into detail, Clyburn said activists should focus on the statues of people who "led the insurrections against this country and fought to keep people enslaved."

"Just remember," he told MacCallum, "I used to teach this so-called history. I studied it every day and I know how to differentiate one from the other."

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