White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Politics journalist Ryan Lizza on Monday that her question was "absolutely absurd" when she asked if President Trump was happy with the outcome of the Civil War.
"I think a lot of people are trying to understand what [Trump's] vision is to commemorate the Confederacy in the proper place on the Confederate flag," Lizza said. "Does President Trump think it was good for the South to lose the Civil War?"
"Your first question is absolutely absurd," replied McEnany. "He is proud of the United States of America."
The journalist also asked if the president would follow NASCAR's example and ban Confederate flags at protests. NASCAR recently banned the flag in their careers.
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McEnany said this was a question for the campaign, but reiterated White House opposition to tear down statues. "There is a Harvard Harris poll released last week that shows 60 percent of respondents said the statue should remain, and 71 percent said local governments should prevent groups from physically destroying the statues," he said. "So he is on the side of preserving our history."
McEnany went on to say that protesters trying to tear down the statues "appear to have no ideology." He noted the disfigurement of statues such as that of the Philadelphia abolitionist Matthias Baldwin and the abolitionist Hans Christian Heg, who died fighting in the Union army.
The press secretary said more than 100 people have so far been arrested by the Justice Department for the destruction of federal property and four have been charged with trying to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order to protect the monuments, threatening those who tried to tear them down with "a long time in prison."
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At the same time, Attorney General Bill Barr led the creation of a task force to counter anti-government extremists, specifically naming those who support the far-right "boogaloo" movement and those who identify as Antifa. McEnany said the FBI has so far opened 200 domestic terrorism investigations.