Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) believes there’s no need to mention slavery when honoring the Confederacy because it “goes without saying” that slavery is “bad.”
“I don’t know what you would say about slavery,” Barbour said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “but anyone who thinks that you have to explain to people that slavery is a bad thing Ã¢â‚¬â€ I think it goes without saying.”
Virginia governor Bob McDonnell launched a Confederate History Month proclamation last week and subsequently came under fire nationally for omitting this central aspect of its history. According to Barbour, the criticism — including from President Obama and civil rights leaders — is illegitimate.
“To me it’s a sort of feeling that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a nit,” he told Candy Crowley. “That it is not significant. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trying to make a big deal out of something that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter for diddly.”
DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan pounced on the remarks, warning the GOP that failing to condemn these remarks “send a strong message to all Americans that Republicans endorse Governor Barbour’s sentiments and are content not only to be left behind in another century, but that they deserve to be a small regional party in the permanent minority.”
McDonnell responded in kind by showering praise on the chairman of the Republican Governors Association as “a tremendous leader for Mississippi.” His spokesman added, in a statement to the Washington Post, “We thank him for his leadership and service to the state and country.”
McDonnell profusely apologized last week following the spate of outrage, admitting his failure to include any reference to slavery was a “mistake” and a “major omission.”
The group that lobbied McDonnell’s office to reinstate Confederate History Month in Virginia, Sons of Confederate Veterans, is linked to the white supremacist movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The video is from CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, uploaded to YouTube.