Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois on Sunday said she would listen to arguments for removing statues of George Washington, seeming to take a step further than former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as she’s rumored to be a potential running mate.
Ms. Duckworth made the comment during a CNN interview in which she blasted President Trump for using a Mount Rushmore speech to spend “more time worried about honoring dead Confederates than he did talking about the lives of 130,000 Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19.”
Pressed on whether the push to remove Confederate statues should extend to forefathers like George Washington, the senator said: “I think we should listen to everybody.”
“I think we should listen to the argument there,” said Ms. Duckworth told CNN, before pivoting back to Mr. Trump’s speech in South Dakota on Friday. “But remember that the president at Mount Rushmore was standing on ground that was stolen from Native Americans who had actually been given that land during a treaty.”
By contrast, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, drew a line between Confederate memorials and historical figures like Christopher Columbus or Washington and another slave-owning president, Thomas Jefferson.
“The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and somebody who was in rebellion, committing treason, and running trying to take down the Union to keep slavery – I think there is a distinction there,” Mr. Biden told reporters last week in Delaware.
After Illinois Republicans reposted the senator’s Sunday comments with an embarrassed emoji face, Ms. Duckworth tweeted the following:
“Donald Trump wants to continue honoring traitors who took up arms against us in the Civil War to protect their ability to enslave, sell & kill Black Americans. This has never been a debate about honoring the complex legacy of those who actually helped *build* our great nation.”