"Fox and Friends" wonders if the U.S. will take down September 11 memorials in "100 years"

"Since we don't put up statues of Jesus, everyone is gonna fall morally short," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 11, 2017 8:50AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

If you're in the mood for spurious historical reasoning, check out this Monday morning debate on "Fox and Friends" with President Donald Trump's Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke.

"Do you worry 100 years from now somebody's gonna take that [9-11] memorial down like they're trying to remake our memorials today?" asked co-host Brian Kilmeade, referring to a memorial honoring the victims of United Airlines Flight 93.

"Well, I'm one that believes that we should learn from history, and I think our monuments are part of our country's history. We can learn from it," Zinke said.

He then added, "Since we don't put up statues of Jesus, everyone is gonna fall morally short," before continuing to discuss the need to learn from our history "both good and bad."

There were several logical flaws in the arguments made by both Kilmeade and Zinke. By conflating the monument honoring Sept. 11 victims with monuments honoring Confederate generals, Kilmeade implicitly argued that perpetrators of aggression are somehow the equal of those who are victimized by it. The logic supporting removing the Confederate statues objectively does not apply to the 9/11 memorials.

Zinke, on the other hand, acted as if the Confederate monuments exist solely to learn from history, even though they were specifically constructed for the purpose of celebrating the Confederate cause and white supremacy with it. More importantly, Zinke's statement about statues of Jesus assumes that the only way to be a moral person is to be a Christian, a sentiment that it is quite likely the millions of American non-Christians will find objectionable.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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9/11 9/11 Memorials Confederate Memorials Donald Trump Jesus Christ Ryan Zinke