Jim Webb -- Democratic presidential candidate, Navy vet, and former U.S. Senator from Virginia -- released a statement Wednesday instructing Americans to stand united against opposition to the Confederate flag.
In a Facebook post, Webb urges fellow Americans to "[respect] the complicated history of the Civil War." He then says that while the Confederate flag has appropriated by many for racist purposes, it "should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us."
Webb then writes that "honorable Americans" -- a group he explicitly says includes slave owners -- "fought on both sides of the Civil War."
"The is a time for us to come together," Webb concludes, "and to recognize once more that our complex multiracial society is founded on the principle of mutual respect."
A screenshot of Webb's statement is here:
Twitter users wasted no time in reacting to Webb's de facto defense of the Confederate flag. A few examples:
@JimWebbUSA Jim, the "heritage" angle is just SO full of holes with the traitor and white supremacy historical aspects. No one is buying it.— The Black Sage™ (@The Black Sage™)1435173039.0
jim webb, you've been praised by bill kristol. congratulation?— Jay. i don't really like christmas. ✊ (@Jay. i don't really like christmas. ✊)1435171505.0
Suggested edit for @JimWebbUSA: "y*our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of *white supremacy*"— Michelle (@Michelle)1435171331.0
Understanding the tone of the public is a key trait of a politician... One not possessed by @JimWebbUSA https://t.co/h9ayuv0oLq— Ron Buikema (@Ron Buikema)1435171155.0
Jim Webb was a great candidate, provided the alternative was George Allen— Dana Houle (@Dana Houle)1435170937.0
Here's part of what @JimWebbUSA wrote about the Confederacy in "Born Fighting": http://t.co/6iZvf5FGes— Ben Pershing (@Ben Pershing)1435170243.0