Monday morning marks the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and Fox & Friends kicked off the somber day by asking the important questions, like: Will liberals eventually try to take down 9/11 monuments in the way they’ve pushed to remove Confederate statues?
Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s secretary of the interior, appeared via satellite on Fox News’ right-wing morning gabfest—a favorite of the president’s—to discuss the government’s response to the “life-threatening” Hurricane Irma, and his visit to the Pennsylvania memorial commemorating passengers who battled hijackers aboard United Flight 93 and thwarted an additional 9/11 attack on Washington, D.C.
Zinke spoke slowly and in the solemn tones one expects of a public official on the anniversary of such an occasion. “[Flight 93] is an example of America sticking together,” he said, before describing the rural Shanksville memorial as “magnificently designed and magnificently done—an example of public-private partnerships, communities, and our National Parks System working together to commemorate, I would think, American heroes.”
Moments later, host Brian Kilmeade chimed in: “Do you worry that 100 years from now someone is going to take that memorial down like they are trying remake our memorials today?”
Seemingly nonplussed by the Fox News host comparing the innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks to men who fought to protect a racist, slave-holding Confederacy, Zinke replied: “I’m one who believes, you know, that we should learn from history. And I think our monuments are a part of our country’s history.”
He continued: “Since we don't put up statues of Jesus, everyone is going to fall morally short.” (The secretary somehow forgot the 6-foot-tall statue of Christ standing atop federal lands in his home town of Whitefish, Montana.)
The embarrassing ordeal came to its conclusion as Zinke stumbled to navigate his way out of the question: “I think reflecting on our history, both good and bad, is a powerful statement and part of our DNA. I’m an advocate, again, of learning from our monuments, understanding the period they were made.”
“But also we live in a great country and monuments are not Republican, Democrat, or independent,” he helpfully noted. “Monuments are a tribute to all of us.”
It seemed as though a simple “9/11 victims aren’t the same as Confederate military leaders and slave holders” wouldn’t have sufficed.