Tennessee Lt. Governor defends legacy of notorious KKK leader -- and gets ripped to shreds

Republican Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally on Thursday sparked an uproar by defending the legacy of former Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate Army general Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose bust is being removed from the Tennessee state capitol.

McNally's statement on Forrest's legacy came after Tennessee's State Building Commission voted to remove the former Klan leader's bust in a 5-to-2 vote.

The Tennessee Republican argued that he did not want to see Forrest removed even though he admittedly left a "problematic" legacy.

"His life eventually followed a redemptive arc which I hope is outlined in detail in our state museum," argued Forrest. "No figure honored on the capitol grounds or across the state could stand up to modern scrutiny."

While it's true that cultural norms have changed since the years following the American Civil War, the Klan has been treated by the United States federal government as a violent criminal organization.

The Enforcement Acts of the 1870s, for example, were passed as a way to prosecute Klan members who were using violence and intimidation to stop Black Americans from exercising their right to vote.

McNally continued by saying that the "woke mob's" goal was to cancel all Tennessee "heroes," starting with Forrest.

"Without historical context, we would have no Tennessee heroes, only villains," he wrote. "No Christian saints, only sinners. The left-wing activists who are pushing an anti-American, anti-history agenda here in Tennessee and across the nation will not stop with Nathan Bedford Forrest."

In fact, Tennessee is also the birthplace of American icons such as Davy Crockett and Dolly Parton, neither of whom has ever led a racist terrorist organization.

The reaction to McNally was brutal -- check out some replies below.