Youngkin appointee resigns after remarks about Civil War

August 3, 2022 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia woman Gov. Glenn Youngkin appointed to the state Board of Historic Resources has resigned after making widely criticized remarks about Confederate statues and the Civil War.

Ann McLean stepped down from the board effective Monday after a discussion about the Youngkin administration’s “goals and priorities,” Macaulay Porter, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Governor had previously acknowledged that he did not agree with Ann McLean’s statements and the Administration is focused on ensuring that our Commonwealth’s rich history and resources are preserved, the good and the bad, for future generations of Virginians and visitors,” Porter said.

McLean is a founder of a Christian school with an academic background in art and architectural history who has been outspoken in her defense of Confederate monuments.

“I think that the Southerners knew that their story of why they fought the Civil War was not being told correctly,” McLean said about Confederate monuments during an interview with a conservative radio host last year, according to Richmond TV station WRIC. “Fake news, or false narratives, are not new, and this whole tragedy is that these statues were built to tell the true story of the American South to people 500 years from now.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Youngkin picked McLean in July to join the board that helps review new nominations of historic sites for listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. The board also considers new or proposed updates to historical highway markers and new preservation easements, according to a state website.

After her nomination, McLean returned to the radio show, where she defended secession by the Southern states, and said she believed the South would have eventually outlawed slavery, “but they wanted to do it on their own time.” Her remarks have drawn widespread criticism from Democratic elected officials.

McLean wrote in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that “it’s past time for Virginians to examine our complete history, but it has to be the actual full and honest history — not a simplified version used for political reasons.”

“I am excited to be completely free now to share that history with people and to speak up to stop the destruction of our shared cultural heritage,” she wrote.