John Kelly says lack of “compromise” led to Civil War. Actually, it was slavery.

John Kelly says lack of “compromise” led to Civil War. Actually, it was slavery.
Then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly appears at a press conference on Trump’s travel ban. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly appears at a press conference on Trump’s travel ban. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly tried to revise history Monday night on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s new Fox News show, saying the Civil War was the result of a lack of “compromise” and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was an “honorable man.”

“The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” Kelly said in response to a line of questioning about Confederate monuments. “And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

In fact, the Civil War is inextricably tied to slavery and the Southern states’ demand to keep it.

Plenty of compromise was made to try and stop the Civil War. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to join the union as a slave state, while adding Maine as a free one that banned slavery.

The Compromise of 1850 admitted California as a free state and barred Washington, D.C. from the slave trade, while adding provisions that forced northern states to help capture and return fugitive slaves.

Kelly’s comments praising both sides of the Civil War sounded like President Donald Trump in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the summer.

Trump said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the protest — despite the fact that torch-bearing white supremacists were shouting racist statements, with one mowing down peaceful counter-protesters with his car, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others.