Vice President Mike Pence penned a poisonous piece on impeachment in the Jan. 17 Wall Street Journal. His article revives white supremacist myths about the Reconstruction period following the U.S. Civil War.
The pseudo-historical op-ed seeks to defend Trump by whitewashing the super racist president, Andrew Johnson, who was impeached in 1868. It uses “Profiles in Courage,” written by Democrat John F. Kennedy, to do so.
Republican Sen. Edmund Ross is eulogized in Kennedy’s book for casting the deciding vote that kept Johnson in the White House. Pence quotes from it to urge Democratic senators not to convict Trump.
Trump’s sidekick describes Johnson, who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln, as having “quickly run afoul of the Republicans in Congress who wished to impose a far harsher penalty on the former Confederacy.”
What’s the real story? Andrew Johnson wanted to keep African Americans from voting. He did nothing as thousands of Black people were killed by Ku Klux Klan terror.
Johnson declared that “this is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” What a role model for Trump!
Frederick Douglass knew what Johnson was about. Douglass said to a friend at Lincoln’s second inauguration, “Whatever Andrew Johnson may be, he is no friend of our race.”
Pence is retelling the Klan version of history that vilified both Black and white fighters for human rights. These lies were taught in U.S. classrooms for a century until the Black liberation struggle flushed them out of most public schools.
The truth can be found in the monumental classic by W.E.B. DuBois, “Black Reconstruction in America…”