A senior legal advisor for President Trump’s administration forwarded an email to government officials and conservative media that claimed the Black Lives Matter movement has been “infiltrated by terrorist groups.”
Originally written by Jerome Almon, a writer and conspiracy theorist, the letter was sent to John Dowd, the head of Trump’s legal team. It contained the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville.” Upon receipt, Dowd reportedly shared the email with more than two dozen recipients.
Read: Trump Loudly Insists Both Sides to Blame For Virginia Violence
According to the New York Times, the letter compared Robert E. Lee to George Washington, noting that both owned slaves and rebelled against their governments, but also were great men who “saved America.” It concludes that “you cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there is literally no difference between the two men.” Almon also reportedly claimed that Black Lives Matter is run by terrorists.
Read: Trump Condemns Charlottesville Violence, But His Relationship with Extremism Is Complicated
When The Times called Dowd for comment, he simply replied that people “send [him] things” that he then forwards. Dowd circulated the email not long after Trump made his own comments comparing Lee to Washington. In response to the weekend’s tragic events in Charlottesville, Trump told reporters, “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”