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President Donald Trump on Thursday morning condemned the removal of Confederate statues, which he called “beautiful,” echoing similar arguments by white supremacist groups.
In a series of tweets, Trump reiterated what he said at a press conference earlier this week where he blamed “both sides” for violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a white supremacist rally organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson—who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also, the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns, and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Trump also tried to equate George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Lee during the press conference; his personal lawyer, John Dowd, also made the comparison in an email he sent containing a string of conspiracy theories.
There are approximately 700 statues and monuments honoring the Confederacy in the United States. In the aftermath of Charlottesville, several statues have been taken down by protesters or city governments in an effort to prevent to prevent similar protests and violence. However, the majority of Americans also believe the statues should remain in place, according to a recent poll.
A poll released by NPR, PBS News Hour and Marist College this week found that 62 percent of Americans believe Confederate monuments should remain as a historical symbols. Forty-seven percent of Democrats said that they were offensive and should be removed compared to just 6 percent of Republicans, the poll found.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).