'This is WRONG,' Sen. Ted Cruz says of Tennessee holiday honoring KKK grand wizard

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

AUSTIN, Texas - A Republican senator from Texas is speaking out after the governor of Tennessee signed a proclamation last week observing a holiday for a "slave trader" who was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Sen. Ted Cruz took to Twitter to decry the proclamation, which noted the observance of Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.

The proclamation, signed by Gov. Bill Lee, is in accordance with Tennessee state law, which puts the onus on the governor to memorialize the day, along with other holidays.

Cruz, however, called on Lee to change that law, writing Friday: "This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law."

Cruz continued in another tweet: "American history is complicated. As a general matter, we shouldn’t be tearing down historical statues or erasing our Founders, even though they were imperfect men. But we should also provide context where we can. And, we shouldn’t be issuing proclamations today honoring Klansmen."

Cruz's tweets garnered thousands of retweets and favorites. However, some called into question Cruz's belief that statues of the "imperfect men" were OK.

"So, he deserves a memorial statue, but not a memorial day. I'm so confused," one person replied.

Another seemingly agreed with the senator to an extent, writing: "Taking down statues of traitors is a just and warranted thing to do though the ultimate decision should be left to the owner of the property or town where said statue resides. The Founders should be left alone. For all their flaws, they built a good nation."

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