Saturday Night Live alums Jimmy Fallon & Seth Meyers go old school in a SNL Weekend Update skit starring presidents George Washington (Fallon) and Thomas Jefferson (Meyers). The bit centered on President Donald Trump’s assertion that taking down statues of Confederate soldiers is a slippery slope as many historic figures owned slaves including our founding fathers.
“I hope they take down every slave owners’ monument,” anchor Michael Che insisted. “I don’t care how unreasonable. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Santa. All of them. Even if it’s just for a few years until we’ve all moved on. And then quietly bring it back like the Cosby Show.”
Washington made a cameo to defend his record. The President pointed out that he founded the country while Confederate General Robert E. Lee tried to tear it apart. Che attempted to get him to own up to his shameful past but he played dumb. Washington asked if he was referring to lying about cutting down the cherry tree or his wooden teeth. When Che explicitly called him out for owning slaves, Washington threw Jefferson “under the carriage.”
The presidents noted one big difference between themselves and General Lee. They actually had valid accomplishments such as writing the Declaration of Independence and winning the American Revolutionary War.
“I prefer generals who win wars,” Jefferson said mockingly.
The wisecrack was a reference to Trump claiming Senator John McCain is not a war hero. He commented, ‘I like people who weren’t captured.”
Cherry picking facts
The President took to Twitter to bolster his position by arguing for the aesthetic beauty of the statues.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he tweeted. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
The administration doubled down on the talking point. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, forwarded an email by conspiracy theorist Jerome Almon, a black man who believes Black Lives Matter protests are directed by terrorists.
“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there literally is no difference between the two men,” writes Almon.
The email cites several dubious similarities between the men including “Both saved America.” Almon reasons Lee saved America by surrendering instead of continuing the rebellion using guerilla tactics.
That’s like saying Trump is a war hero because he hasn’t started a nuclear war (yet).