President Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “a great general” on Friday during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio.
“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said before launching into a monologue about Lee, Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
“He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee,'” Trump said.
“And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people. There’s only one problem — they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how,” he continued.
Trump went on to say, multiple times, that Grant had a drinking problem, saying that the former president “knocked the hell out of everyone” as a Union general.
“Man was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general,” Trump added.
Trump has drawn criticism for his defense of Confederate statues, including those of Robert E. Lee.
He drew widespread condemnation last year following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., saying that white nationalist protesters were there to oppose the removal of a “very, very important” statue.
“They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the time. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Trump, speaking at another rally in Ohio last year, said that he can be one of the “most presidential” presidents to hold office. “…With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office,” he said to a crowd in Youngstown.