Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized the removal of Confederate statues during a recent interview, claiming that the people they honor may have had “other qualities.”

During an interview on the Timcast IRL podcast, the Independent presidential candidate described having a “visceral reaction” over the removal of the statues.

“I think we should celebrate who we are. And that, you know, we should celebrate the good qualities of everybody.”

Kennedy also acknowledged “heroes in the Confederacy who didn’t have slaves” but later praised known slave-owner Robert E. Lee, suggesting the Confederate general had “extraordinary qualities of leadership.”

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“We need to be able to be sophisticated enough to live with, you know, our ancestors who didn’t agree with us on everything and who did things that are not regarded as immoral or wrong because they, you know, maybe they had other qualities,” the presidential hopeful said.

While in office, Donald Trump also opposed the removal of Confederate statues and called the idea “foolish.” On the other hand, President Joe Biden supports the renaming effort and said that the “names affixes to our military installations must honor the diverse heritage of leadership and sacrifice in our country’s history.”

A campaign spokesperson for Kennedy did not immediately respond to the backlash from the podcast.

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