- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2017

People demanding the removal of Confederate monuments are acting in the same manner as Islamic State terrorists, country music singer Charlie Daniels said in a new interview in the wake of Saturday’s tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The “Devil Went Down to Georgia” singer equated Confederate critics with the group also known as ISIS during a segment broadcast by Newsmax TV amid a growing national movement to dismantle monuments commemorating the likes of Robert E. Lee and other Civil War soldiers who unsuccessfully fought for the south.

“That’s what ISIS is doing,” Mr. Daniels, 80, said Wednesday. “There were pieces of history over there they didn’t like and they were taking them down.”

“Where does it go to? Where does it stop?” the Country Music Hall of Fame inductee asked Newsmax’s Rita Cosby. “Is it going to be Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson or are we headed into Jefferson, Washington, who were both slave owners? How deep into history are we going to go? Everybody that we disagree with, [are] we going to have to wipe every semblance of them out? Is that what this’ll all be about? Is that what this is, is that where it’s going to go?”

The singer’s remarks came days after a woman was killed in Charlottesville while protesting a group of far-right demonstrators who had gathered Saturday to rally against the city’s decision to dismantle a monument honoring Lee. Heather Heyer, 33, died after a person identified as an “Unite the Right” participant mowed down a group of counter-protesters with his car, injuring 19 others.

President Trump has condemned the violence in Charlottesville and labeled the motorist “a murderer,” but has taken the same side as the “Unite the Right” participants who oppose the removal of statutes celebrating Confederate generals.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday. “You …can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

Mr. Daniels agreed.

“You don’t have to condone what happened in the Civil War. We all know what it was fought for. But they are statues of people that are a part of our history,” he said. “There are people who were part of our history who were not very savory characters. But Robert E. Lee, for instance, was one of the most honorable people in our history.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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