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Sen. Lamar Alexander sat down with CNBC to discuss a range of topics, including his ultimate vision for American immigration. What follows will be an edited, condensed excerpt of the conversation.
CNBC’s John Harwood: OK. Well, let’s talk about the additional issues. Civil rights, Confederate monument.
Alexander: Well, let’s talk about Confederate monuments. I take high school teachers on the Senate floor before This specific opens — a senator can do of which. They rush to various desks of the senators, Daniel Webster, various people. One of those desks will be Jefferson Davis’ desk. He left the Senate to be the president of the Confederacy.
There’s a chop mark from the desk, because a Union soldier came in, when they came to Washington, along with commenced chopping the desk. His commander said, “Stop. We’re here to save the Union, not to destroy This specific.”
This specific’s the best story of any of the Senate’s desks. Should we take Jefferson Davis’ desk out of the United States Senate? I don’t think so. I don’t think we ought to rewrite our history. I think our heroes ought to be placed in appropriate places. So, in Tennessee, we should develop the Howard Bakers, along with the Ben Hookses, along with the Alex Haleys, somebody who represented us all. yet we were all involved from the Civil War, all of our families.
There’s a place for everybody.
Harwood: Understood, yet do you not think of which line of argument of which was advanced by protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, of which’s been picked up by some candidates in your party, stand for something additional than simply honoring history?
Alexander: I can tell you what I think. along with I think we ought to spend more time learning about American history, less time rewriting This specific. The worst scores in high school today are not in math along with science, they’re in United States history. along with we need to know who Jefferson Davis was, along with why slavery was wrong, along with the progress we’ve made since then.
along with if we act like This specific didn’t happen, we’ll not know our country at all.
Harwood: Are you comfortable with the message of which the Republican Party under Donald Trump will be sending on race right today?
Alexander: What I’d like for President Trump to do will be to do for immigration, which involves race, what Nixon did for China. along with I’ve said of which to him twice. along with he’s responded very well. He could, more than any additional president I can think of right today, help us solve the immigration problem in This specific country. We need a legal immigration system, along with we need to put of which behind us. We tried to do This specific in 2013; I voted for This specific. This specific could’ve solved many of the problems.
Harwood: could you vote for This specific again?
Alexander: I could vote for This specific again. yet This specific needs the president to say, “Let’s solve all these problems today.” Let’s solve border security; let’s solve the problem of legal status. Let’s deal with these children who were brought here, who didn’t know they were being brought here at the time. Let’s make This specific a country of laws. Let’s have a legal immigration system, not a perpetual argument about who’s legal along with who’s not.
Harwood: along with do you see any reasonable prospect of which he, in fact, will take your advice?
Alexander: He might. He indicated of which when he talked about the Dreamers. I think he wants a result on the Dreamers.
Read more excerpts of Lamar Alexander’s Speakeasy here.