Condoleezza Rice argues against removing slave owners’ statues

Scrubbing Confederate history from the country’s fabric would be a monumental mistake, Condoleezza Rice said Monday.

The former Bush-era Secretary of State — now plugging her new book, “Democracy” — argued on “Fox and Friends” that tearing down statues honoring slave owners was merely “sanitizing” U.S. history.

“When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing,” Rice said.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade broached the topic by asking whether Rice, an African-American woman, saw herself in the Constitution given that several of the nation’s first presidents were slave owners.

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a public debate in Warsaw, Poland, on June 29.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a public debate in Warsaw, Poland, on June 29.

(Alik Keplicz/AP)

“Should we start taking their statues down and saying, ‘We’re embarrassed by you’?” he asked.

“I’m a firm believer in ‘keep your history before you.’ And so I don’t actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners,” Rice replied. “I want us to have to look at the names and recognize what they did, and be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history.”

The former national security adviser waxed positive on “the long road to freedom” through a sometimes violent past, crediting “Americans claiming those institutions for themselves and expanding the definition of ‘We the People.’”

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New Orleans police officers set up barricades at the Jefferson Davis monument Thursday.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“That Constitution originally counted my ancestors as three-fifths of a man,” she said. “In 1952 my father had trouble registering to vote in Birmingham, Alabama.”

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“And then, in 2005, I stood in the Ben Franklin Room … I took an oath of office to that same Constitution, and it was administered by a Jewish woman Supreme Court Justice. That’s the story of America.”

Rice’s remarks came after New Orleans police arrested three people Sunday during a day of fierce protests over removal of Confederate monuments in the Big Easy.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, with a group of supporters, speaks in front of a statue of Andrew Jackson prior to a Sept. 24 protest in New Orleans.

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, with a group of supporters, speaks in front of a statue of Andrew Jackson prior to a Sept. 24 protest in New Orleans.

(Gerald Herbert/AP)

Three of the statues scheduled for removal remained on Monday, per Nola.com: those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.

Rice, during a day-earlier stop by “CBS Sunday Morning,” called the civil rights movement “the second founding of America” and compared slavery to a birth defect.

“We forget in the United States how long it has taken us to make ‘We the People’ mean people like me,” she told host Jane Pauley. “And indeed, I do think that America was born with a birth defect; it was slavery.”

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condoleezza rice

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