On the September 23, 2016 episode of his eponymous radio show, David Duke was outraged over the news that protesters from the group Take ‘Em Down NOLA were planning on physically removing a monument to Andrew Jackson. Jackson might have been the founder of the Democratic Party, but he was a slaveholder and did participate in the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans, so I guess that’s why Duke is deciding to give him a pass.
“We are in the midst of a war,” Duke proclaimed. “There is a war raging against the culture, the heritage, the rights, the principles of the United States of America. Every great hero we have is under attack, is defamed in our textbooks, in our movies.” The latest “hero” under attack being Andrew Jackson — “one of our greatest presidents” — whose statue is prominently displayed in New Orleans. Duke warned his audience of a “Black Lives Matter-type, neo-Marxist, anti-American” organization that is “seeking to destroy” that statue.
He continued, stating that they likewise sought to destroy every other American icon, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. Yes, that Jefferson Davis. Duke waxed nostalgic for the era prior to the 1960s, and the “takeover of our media,” when Robert E. Lee “was considered one of the greatest Americans” and pointed out that Lee was respected by both the North and South after the “War for Southern Independence.”
“Yes, folks, there is a war raging against our heritage,” he complained. And these attacks are “associated with, quote, r-a-c-e, race.” As it turns out, the “great men who founded this great republic” are “under attack” because they “were white men.” (If by “under attack” he means not simply venerated as gods.) Furthermore, white people themselves are also “under attack” and “facing massive discrimination” while immigration policies are “ethnically cleansing our own people from our own land.”
Duke’s co-host, Dr. Patrick Slattery, went on to compare the members of Take ‘Em Down NOLA to the U.S. soldiers who famously pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square. “Think of that statue of Saddam Hussein that got torn down in Iraq after the Americans had invaded and occupied the country,” he implored. “It’s an act of symbolism. The old order is over. There’s a new order. And that’s what this is about.”
Slattery went even further, making an offensive comparison to the Taliban and its March, 2001 demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. “Think of the Taliban destroying that statue of the Buddha, that had been carved into a mountain, kind of like the Stone Mountain carvings in Georgia.” The Stone Mountain carvings depict Jefferson Davis, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Robert E. Lee on horseback. In 1915, the site was home to the founding of the second Ku Klux Klan, which despised not only blacks but Jews, Catholics, and foreigners. The Stone Mountain carving has recently come under fire from civil rights groups including the NAACP.
On September 24th, Take ‘Em Down NOLA did manage to hold a large-scale protest in Jackson Square. According to the New Orleans Advocate, the “area around the square’s central equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson was barricaded because protesters had announced plans to toss ropes over it and try to pull it down.”
David Duke also made good on his threat to show up and stage a counter protest of his own, but, “After some protesters grabbed his microphone and others chanted over his remarks, Duke left, well before the arrival of the main group of protesters, who had marched from Congo Square a few blocks away.” After an hour, all the protesters disbursed “peacefully.”