Paul Marotta/Getty Images
Tanya Christian
Nov, 02, 2017

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been quite outspoken as of late. Last month the retired U.S. Marine Corps General took on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson with false claims over a building’s funding, and this week the already-problematic staffer said that the U.S. Civil War was caused by a “lack of compromise.”

Naturally, his bizzare comments did not fall on deaf ears. Outrage over his remarks, made during the premiere of Laura Ingraham’s new show on Fox News, came swiftly. One of his biggest critics was best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates. In a scathing Twitter thread, the Howard University grad schooled the four-star Marine general on the real issue behind the most studied period in American History.

"Notion that Civil War resulted from a lack of compromise is belied by all the compromises made on enslavement from America's founding,” Coates tweeted. "I mean, like, it's called The three fifths compromise for a reason. But it doesn't stand alone. Missouri Compromise. Kansas-Nebraska Act."

Coates knows a thing or two about history. As a writer for The Atlantic, he dedicated several articles to clarifying the role that slavery played in the Civil War. While Confederate apologists like Kelly claim that the war was over anything but slavery, Coates contends that the enslavement of Africans was the very basis for the division between the North and the South.

"This is really basic stuff--easily accessible, not tucked away in archives somewhere," Coates continued. "Shocking that someone charged with defending their country, in some profound way, does not comprehend the country they claim to defend.”

Before the Between the World and Me author ended his history lesson, he made it very clear how problematic he felt Kelly’s words were. “But, like, when the "adult in the room" believes a war for slavery was honorable...,” Coates tweeted. “You really do see the effect of white supremacy.”