Lee also reflected on how Trump's words fit into the larger state of American politics and culture.
NBC News did not bother to include Trump's full comments when it tweeted that Trump was calling General Lee, the commander of the Confederate States Army, "incredible". "I don't know if you know this story, but Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle and Abraham Lincoln came home and he said 'I can't beat Robert E. Lee". But on Sunday, NBC had to correct that tweet since, as it turns out, Trump was actually praising Union General (and future U.S. President) Ulysses S. Grant in the clip. "It was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, not Gen. Robert E. Lee". "They said to Lincoln, "You can't use him anymore, he's an alcoholic" and Lincoln said, 'I don't care if he's an alcoholic, frankly, get me six or seven just like him'".
Trump, for his part, charged that NBC had intentionally misrepresented his speech about Ulysses S Grant. But he made the statement in the context of talking about how hard it was for President Abraham Lincoln to defeat him. He said that Grant "was incredible, he drank a little bit too much, you know who I'm talking about" and that he went on to "knock the hell out of everyone".
Trump accused media-specifically NBC News, who later issued a correction-of twisting and cutting his full remarks made during an October 12 rally where he praised a number of Ohioans. "Robert E. Lee fought for the continued enslavement of black bodies".
Trump hosted the Lebanon, Ohio, rally to support Rep. Steve Chabot (R), the incumbent in district's Congressional race, a fact that Chabot seemed perturbed by.
Even though Trump's meaning was clear from the context, other news outlets also pounced on NBC's angle. In reality, as one can tell by watching the full clip, those remarks were directed to General Grant. The original, incorrect tweet was left intact.
An Aug. 16 poll by NPR, PBS, NewsHour, and Marist on Aug. 16 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that "statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy" should "remain as a historical symbol". Trump noted that Grant was criticized for his alcoholism, but Lincoln realized he still had the skill set necessary to counteract the effectiveness of Lee, who was a formidable opponent and had proven himself to be an excellent military strategist.
"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our attractive statues and monuments", Trump said in August.