Youngkin appointee resigns after remarks about Civil War

FILE - Crews remove one of the country's largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy, a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. The movement to identify and reckon with structural racism moved forward in 2021. As local and state governments grappled with the removal of statues of racist historical figures, local school boards fought over how to teach the uneasy history of racism in the United States. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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

Macaulay Porter, a spokeswoman for Youngkin, confirmed to WRIC-TV Tuesday that Ann McLean had resigned from the board effective Monday.

“The Governor has made his disagreement with her prior comments clear, and the Administration is focused on ensuring that our commonwealth’s rich history and resources are preserved, the best and the worst, for future generations of Virginians and visitors,” Porter told the station.

Youngkin had previously told WRIC that he disagreed with some of McLean’s comments and that his administration was discussing with her whether she can “represent us well.”

McLean is a founder of a Christian school with a 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. “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.”

Youngkin picked her 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.