CNN anchor Erica Hill argued early Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE's remarks that he might deliver his Republican convention acceptance speech from Gettysburg "leaves you scratching your head," saying he has recently done "his best to shore up the Confederacy."
"When we heard this, one of the first things I thought of was an interview that the President had at Normandy, and when we saw him there with all of those crosses in the background. And that really struck a chord with a number of people as well because it became so politicized," Hill said on "New Day." "To think that now we’re looking at Gettysburg, where the President has in recent weeks really taken it upon himself to do his best to shore up the Confederacy, right, that we keep Confederate flags and monuments to Confederate generals going. That, too, leaves you scratching your head."
"It’s all a bit nutty," CNN presidential historian David Brinkley concurred. "Here is Donald Trump defending Confederate monuments staying up, refusing to strip the name of rogue traitors like Bragg from federal forts, now talking about speaking at Gettysburg ... remember, not giving a speech there about public policy, but self-aggrandizing himself, making that the center of the Republican National Committee, the middle of the battlefield and cemetery at Gettysburg. I can’t think of a worse idea."
The president teased the Gettysburg idea in a tweet on Monday to his more than 85 million followers, which also included the White House as another possible venue. Trump added his campaign will announce the decision "soon."
We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations - The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2020
The July 1863 battle in Gettysburg, Pa. was the bloodiest of the Civil War, with more than 50,000 casualties. The Union prevailed after three days of fighting in halting Confederate General Robert E. Lee's second attempt of invading the North while marking a major turning point in the war.
In November 1863, President Lincoln delivered what many historians consider his most heralded address at Gettysburg, with Lincoln honoring the Union soldiers who died for preserving America's “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Other members of the media slammed Trump for considering the historic site as a venue for a political convention, while others say it is appropriate, given the South's major defeat.
Gettysburg would be quite the choice, given the president's recent defense of generals from the side that lost that battle https://t.co/vKbzGaCnrU— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 10, 2020
Opinion: Gettysburg is sacred ground. Don't defile it with a partisan political event https://t.co/63P9dvyQ4P (via @latimesopinion)— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 11, 2020
Yes Gettysburg, where the north won and turned the tide of the war and slavery. I have no idea who on Earth thinks of Gettysburg as devotion to white supremacy. “...dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Republican Abraham Lincoln https://t.co/VK6Zit0uJT— Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerLegal experts blast Trump floating election delay FEC commissioner to Trump: 'No. You don't have the power to move the election' GOP lawmaker says he will oppose any attempts to delay election MORE (@RepKinzinger) August 11, 2020
The union soldiers who died at Gettysburg did more for liberty & justice in one breath than this half-wit could muster up in 10 lifetimes. https://t.co/LaI0rf5DvG— Will Ricciardella (@WillRicci) August 11, 2020
Nationwide protests over racial injustice, sparked by the death of George Floyd during a police arrest, fueled debate over symbols of white supremacy and led many communities across the country to reconsider monuments to people who defended slavery.
"You don’t want to take away our heritage and history and the beauty, in many cases, the beauty, the artistic beauty. Some of the sculptures and some of this work is some of the great — you can go to France, you can go anywhere in the world and you will never see more magnificent work. And that’s a factor. It’s not the biggest factor but it’s a factor," the president said during a Fox News interview in June when asked about efforts to remove the statues and monuments of Confederate figures and former slave owners.