House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday offered a sharp rejoinder to President Trump’s lauding of Robert E. Lee as a “great general,” noting that Trump “always said that he hated losers.”
“The fact of the matter is, Robert E. Lee was a great tactician,” Clyburn said on ABC News’s “This Week,” then added, “Was not a great person. Robert E. Lee was a slave owner and a brutal slave master. Thankfully, he lost that war. And I find it kind of interesting that the president is now glorifying a loser. He always said that he hated losers. Robert E. Lee was a loser.”
On Saturday, Trump defended his 2017 comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. He argued that the media had misinterpreted what he said and that he was talking about “people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee — a great general, whether you like it or not.”
“People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that,” Trump said.
Clyburn said Sunday that Trump was “expressing what’s in his heart.”
Trump has often said that he is not a fan of “losers.” As a presidential candidate in 2015, for instance, Trump criticized Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for having been captured during the Vietnam War and for having lost his 2008 bid for the White House.
“He lost,” Trump said of McCain. “He let us down. I never liked him as much after that because I don’t like losers.”
Eugene Scott contributed to this report.