Former Obama Official: Taking Down Confederate Monuments Is 'A Matter of Homeland Security'
On Sunday, Jeh Johnson, former secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, said that removing Confederate monuments is a matter of homeland security.
"That's not a matter of political correctness, that's a matter of public safety and homeland security, and doing what's right," Johnson told ABC News in an interview.
"What alarms so many of us, from a security perspective, is that so many of the statues — the Confederate monuments — are now, modern day, becoming symbols and rallying points for white nationalism, for neo-Nazis, for the KKK," the former DHS secretary explained.
"We fought a World War against Nazism. The KKK rained terror on African-Americans for generations," Johnson said. "I support those in cities and states who are taking down a lot of these monuments for reasons of public safety and security."
Cities, states, and private entities do not argue they are removing the statues for "public safety and security," however. The University of Texas, which removed Confederate statues in the wee hours of Monday morning, explained that these monuments were "symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism."
In April, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu — whom Jeh Johnson praised in his interview — said, "The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion, and tolerance." The city removed its four statues in April and May.
Anna Lope Brosche, president of the Jacksonville City Council in Florida, announced a plan of action to take an inventory of Confederate symbols and relocate them to museums. In her statement, Bosche noted that the monuments evoke "some really negative emotions, and pain and hurt."
Some have mentioned safety — the safety of vandals who might try to remove the monuments. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he must "protect North Carolinians and keep them safe," citing "the likelihood of protesters being injured or worse as they may try to topple" the monuments, in addition to the threat of violence in rallies like Charlottesville.
Removing monuments might not guarantee safety or that white supremacists won't rally in locations which used to have monuments, however.
Furthermore, the Left's rush to defend vandals, to protect feelings, and to champion Antifa on the grounds that it is fighting Nazis suggests that this is an issue of political correctness more than one of homeland security.