- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed about President Donald Trump’s position on slavery.
- Chief of staff John Kelly argued that the Civil War happened because lack of ability to compromise.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back against a reporter on Wednesday who asked her to clarify chief of staff John Kelly’s comments about slavery.
During a press briefing, American Urban Radio Network correspondent April Ryan pushed Sanders to address why Kelly said the Civil War occurred because of “lack of an ability to compromise.”
“What is the definition of compromise as it relates to slavery and the Civil War?” Ryan asked.
Sanders said she was “not going to re-litigate the Civil War,” saying she “addressed the concerns that a lot of people have and you had.”
Ryan, who attempted to ask the question during Tuesday’s press briefing, noted that before the Civil War, the two sides did initially compromise to allow slavery in the South and ban it in the North.
“Does this president believe that slavery was wrong?” Ryan asked, before describing the history.
“I think it is disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside this building would support slavery,” Sanders replied.
A number of historians criticised Kelly’s Civil War theory following his comments.
The Washington Post interviewed historians who said Kelly’s statements resembled the pro-Confederate views of the South during the Reconstruction Era, noting that the idea had been “exploded” by research on the era.
The two sides attempted to reach numerous compromises, including the addition of new states to the Union, an amendment that would have enshrined slavery in the Constitution, and other instances.
Wednesday’s press conference was the second day Sanders faced questions about Kelly’s comments.
On Tuesday, Sanders insisted that some historians claimed that a failure to compromise caused the Civil War, though she did not specify what a compromise would have looked like.
“There are a lot of historians that think that, and there are a lot of different versions of those compromises,” she said. “I am not going to get up here and re-litigate the Civil War, but there are certainly some historical documentation that many people, and there’s pretty strong consensus, people from the left and the right and the North and the South that if some individuals engaged had been willing to come to some compromises on different things, then it may not have occurred.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.