Watch CNN's Brooke Baldwin slam guest who compares Lincoln to Hitler

Watch CNN's Brooke Baldwin slam guest who compares Lincoln to Hitler

Baldwin cuts interview: "I don't think we want to compare Adolf Hitler and Abraham Lincoln. ... We got to go"


From the August 18 edition of CNN Newsroom:

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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): So joining me now, a member of the North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is a commander of the Blue Ridge Brigade, his name is Bill Starnes. Bill, thank you so much for being with me. 

BILL STARNES: Yes ma'am, thank you for having me. 

BALDWIN: So, listen, I want to hear all perspectives of this this week, including from yourself. I understand you agree with the president that these statues represent history and culture. Tell me why you want to keep them up. 

STARNES: Well, it's very simple, and I do want to make clear I'm not speaking for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, although I am a member. I'm speaking for myself here.


STARNES: I believe those statues represent the honor, the courage, and the bravery of the Confederate soldier. Those soldiers, based on 17 years of historic research that I've done, those soldiers were not fighting to perpetuate the institution of slavery. They were fighting for the constitutional rights from the government at the consent of the governed. There is nothing in the Constitution --

BALDWIN: But, Bill, Bill, Bill, hang on, because, if you really want to talk about the history of this chapter of our country, the consensus among historians, and I've got one that we'll talk to in a second here, is that the Civil War wasn't about state rights and secession. This was about upholding the economic system of slavery. In fact, let me just quote, this is the Harvard University president and historian. "Historians are pretty united on the cause of the Civil War being slavery, and the kind of research that historians have undertaken, especially in the year since the centennial where there has been so much interest in this question of the role of race and slavery in the US. That research has shown pretty decisively that when the various states announced their plans secession, they uniformly said that the main motivating factor was to 'defend slavery.'" I know as a proud southerner, you don't want to hear that, but you can't rewrite history.

STARNES: I'm not trying to rewrite history. The professor there needs to actually study some history before he opens his mouth and says something that stupid. Number one, if you go back to 1850 all the way up to 1861 and find for me one bill, one law in the United States Congress that they were working on to end the institution of slavery nationwide, then I might say he has a point. There was no such bill in the 1850s or the early 1860s to end slavery in the United States. In fact, the only constitutional amendment or bill I could find in Congress was in 1861 that pertained to slavery, and that was what came to be known as the Corwin Amendment, which clearly stated that "Congress shall never have the authority to interfere with the institutions within the states," including those institutions pertaining to service and holding people to service and labor. That was known as the "slavery forever" amendment. 

BALDWIN: I know you've studied all of this --

STARNES: Yes, I have studied all of it. 

BALDWIN: Yes, sir, and I can't check you on bills written in the 1850's off the top of my head --

STARNES: Well, I would go look at them before I did an interview on them. 

BALDWIN: Well -- hang on sir, hang on sir, with all due respect, as a fellow southerner, with all due respect, I did do my homework, and I just cited this quote, and I have a historian coming up, so please, sir, don't tell me to do homework. Secondly, let's move that aside and talk about the pain in this country. When you look at a place like Germany where they don't force Jewish children to attend a school named after Adolf Hitler, it is the same for a lot of African Americans in this country, attending a school, say, named after Robert E. Lee. What do you say to the -- let's not -- facts is one thing, feelings is another. Do you acknowledge those feelings of those Americans. 

STARNES: Well, facts are one thing, and feelings are another, and the truth on this, the pure fact is, Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler have a lot more in common than Robert E. Lee and Adolf Hitler. Robert E. Lee did not kill civilians. Abraham Lincoln did. 


STARNES: The union Army came into the south and killed over 70,000 southern civilians, men, women, and children, black and white, slave and free. So, yeah, they did that. You can study some history and find that out. It's very easy to look at. As far as comparing Robert E. Lee -- 

BALDWIN: Abraham Lincoln, anti-slavery, as a result of that, states wanted to secede. I don't think we want to compare Adolf Hitler and Abraham Lincoln. Bill Starnes, thank you so much. Thank you. We got to go.


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Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Brooke Baldwin
CNN Newsroom
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