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Cities across the United States are removing Confederate monuments this week following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that erupted in violence. The rally was prompted by the planned removal of the statue of Confederate army commander Robert E. Lee.
President Trump responded to the events by saying that “both sides” were at fault—equating people who shout Nazi slogans with people who are trying to fight hatred of other human beings. He went one step further on Thursday morning, tweeting that he was “sad” to see people tearing down statues.
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
Many responses to Trump’s tweets were critical of the president’s comment that statues linked to the Confederacy, which lost the war, are “beautiful” and “will be greatly missed.”
apparently there's nothing quite so beautiful on this earth as a bearded white racist on a horse https://t.co/zTh5MMoXLq— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) August 17, 2017
If there's nothing more beautiful than statues of traitors then I don't want to live anymore https://t.co/FJ70ZFsMSZ— Tony Stark (@NatSecElitist) August 17, 2017
The sanitized version of 'You Will Not Replace Us'. https://t.co/DZVJPEI8Qa— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) August 17, 2017
Others noted that just earlier this month Trump aide Stephen Miller dismissed the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Reminder:— Dan Slott (@DanSlott) August 17, 2017
This month, the Trump administration slammed the base of the Statue of Liberty, and defended the statues of the Confederacy.
Trump White House:— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 17, 2017
Statue of Liberty? "Here's some sophisticated revisionism..."
Confederate monuments? "Heritage. Culture. Sacrosanct."
In just the past 2 weeks, the Trump White House has attacked the Statue of Liberty and defended a statue to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. pic.twitter.com/OWlhWY3tuq— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) August 17, 2017
Naturally, Trump’s tweets also inspired lots of internet jokes.
TRUMP: We must respect and honor our beautiful statues!— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) August 17, 2017
STATUE OF LIBERTY: pic.twitter.com/QSZnLtqEQn
So much beauty in these statues. Just look at this one.
They're not even good statues. pic.twitter.com/dRQkFg23i6— Matt Ford (@fordm) August 17, 2017
Yes, that's a real statue of Confederate general and Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest in Nashville: https://t.co/EnlNVwKJrP— Matt Ford (@fordm) August 17, 2017
That particular one got people especially riled up.
I thought it was the Burger King King. https://t.co/MOpHX9EgyQ— JUSTIN HERR (@Heisenherr) August 17, 2017
What happens when a silver dollar is dropped into the mouth? Does the head spin around? Does it emit a rebel yell? Don't leave us hanging. https://t.co/TU6L6lI9gD— Roger Wilner (@JTMLX) August 17, 2017
America will become ugly if we take down this beautiful statue https://t.co/B7WZ3PCqof— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) August 17, 2017
Perhaps it will be a shame if that one goes.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.