In a recent Breitbart interview, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that if the country begins to remove Confederate monuments, soon, Native Americans will want the statues of anti-indigenous Union generals removed too — but he didn’t use the term “Native Americans.”
“Where do you start and where do you stop?” Zinke asked his Breitbart interviewer. “It’s a slippery slope. If you’re a native Indian, I can tell you, you’re not very happy about the history of General Sherman or perhaps President Grant.”
The argument, New York Magazine notes, is a novel twist on President Donald Trump’s “slippery slope” logic that posits the removal of Confederate monuments will lead to the removal of other monuments, such as those dedicated to past presidents.
While both Gen. Sherman and President Ulysses S. Grant were racists whose actions brought harm upon Native Americans, NY Mag writer Eric Levitz argues, their primary legacy is not one associated with enslaving people like that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and others whose statues white supremacists have protested to protect.