CNN Reporter Bashes Mount Rushmore as 'Monument of Two Slave Owners'

July 3rd, 2020 9:37 PM

On Friday afternoon, conservative Twitter "pounced" on CNN reporter Leyla Santiago who told Jake Tapper "kicking off the Independence Day weekend, President Trump will be at Mt. Rushmore where he'll be standing in front of a monument of two slave owners and on land wrestled away from Native Americans, told that be focusing on the effort to, quote, tear down our country's history."

Naturally, CNN wanted to stress to celebrating Americans that they should think first of "historically marginalized groups" in this time of "racial reckoning."

JAKE TAPPER: And while Americans of all stripes celebrate Independence Day, the Fourth Of July, for some in these historically marginalized groups, the Fourth Of July holiday can be bittersweet, as CNN's Leyla Santiago reports.

LEYLA SANTIAGO: Fireworks, parades, ceremonies. The celebration of U.S. independence once declared by founding fathers that wrote "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." But the very rights being celebrated on Independence Day are the same rights that millions of Americans say they and their ancestors have not been allowed to enjoy.

SANTIAGO (on camera): What does Independence Day mean to you?

JESSE HOLLAND, AUTHOR: I will always be a proud American. But that doesn't mean I don't realize the faults and the flaws that this country has.

SANTIAGO: For historian and author Jesse Holland, that includes the injustice that has led to unrest across the country, the inequalities in communities of color highlighted by a pandemic.

HOLLAND: I think it's fair to sometimes question whether America loves African-Americans as much as we love it.

This is fair commentary on our very imperfect history. Let's add the note that Holland was a longtime reporter for the Associated Press -- who came running to President Obama's defense -- before he became a "historian."

As usual, President Trump was presented not as a patriotic leader, but as a recalcitrant divider:

SANTIAGO: As Americans face a reckoning over racism past and present, there's no message of healing from the White House. Instead President Trump is calling a Black Lives Matter street mural a symbol of hate after New York City announced it would be painted in front of Trump Tower. He's also demanding protection for symbols of Confederacy at campaign rallies.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The unhinged leftwing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments.

SANTIAGO: During diplomatic visits.

TRUMP: Not going to happen, not as long as I'm here.

SANTIAGO: And even on Twitter. And he's refusing to sign anything changing the names of military bases named after Confederate leaders.

HOLLAND: I am hopeful that we will, as a country, decide that the Confederacy is something to be studied, not something to be glorified, and we're able to actually celebrate who we are when we celebrate Independence Day.

Then Santiago uncorked the "monument of slave owners" line. Santiago, like many so-called "progressives," pretends Trump is only talking about the Confederate monuments being vandalized, when it's clear that hooligans have ripped down Ulysses Grant, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key. They've vandalized statues of abolitionists. But CNN never allows any nuance. They sound like the Cartoon News Network.