Some months ago, in what CNN termed “a meltdown for the ages,’ President Trump commented on the war against the statues. "This week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" At the time, the president was accused of rendering aid and comfort to alt right Neo-Nazis. Taking down monuments to George Washington? Whoever heard of such a thing?

However, according to Fox News, the people running Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, where George Washington worshiped, decided to make the president’s point. A plaque that marks the pew where the father of the United States and his family used to pray will now be removed, along with another one commemorating Robert E. Lee.

What is so objectionable about George Washington?

The church leaders stated that “The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome." They went on to say that some people choose not to return because of the “unintended message” the plaques represent. While what that message might be was left unspoken, it was an explicit reference to the fact that both Lee and Washington were slave owners. The church leaders did not make any other distinction between the two men.

Who was George Washington?

The role that Washington played in the founding of the United States cannot be overstated. He commanded the Continental Army in campaigns that more often than not led to defeat. However, he was able to keep his army together, even under the most horrendous conditions, such as the winter camp at Valley Forge.

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Washington and his army had just enough victories to keep the dream of American independence alive until much-needed help could arrive, mainly from France, leading to the final victory at Yorktown.

After the Revolutionary War, Washington was instrumental in ensuring that the United States would be a republic. He refused the crown of a king, instead presiding over the Constitutional Convention and lending it his moral authority. He served as president of the United States for two terms and then, providing an example followed forever more, stepped down voluntarily for his successor.

On the deficit side, Washington did own slaves. However, he repented of the practice, noting that eventual emancipation would be necessary for the country he helped to bring into being to grow and prosper. He set an example by the freeing of his slaves in his will, to take place after the deaths of himself and his wife, Martha Washington. However, this was apparently not enough for those under whose charge Washington’s church has been given, so he must be expunged.