An attorney for President Donald Trump forwarded an email to conservative media and government officials that said Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee “is no different than” President George Washington, and which claims the Black Lives Matter movement is “infiltrated by terrorist groups.”
The New York Times reports that the email forwarded by Trump attorney John Dowd came from conspiracy theorist Jerome Almon, and contains the subject line, “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville.”
Trump on Tuesday blamed the deadly white supremacist violence in the Virginia city on both white nationalist groups and counter-protesters, insisting that there are “very fine people on both sides,” despite the former being made up of neo-Nazis and KKK members.
An Ohio man named James Alex Fields Jr. on Saturday allegedly drove his car into the group of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and leaving many injured.
Several of the organizers of the white supremacist rally had come to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Lee from a local park.
The email cited by the Times compares the Confederate general with Washington, pointing out that both were slave owners who rebelled against government.
It goes on to say that both men “saved America,” among other wild claims, and concludes that “you cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there is literally no difference between the two men.”
The email also claims without any basis that Black Lives Matter, a national civil rights movement that protests police violence against African-Americans, “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”
Reached by the Times, Dowd did not have much to say about the email. “You’re sticking your nose in my personal email?” he asked.
“People send me things,” he went on. “I forward them.”