Trump Criticizes Removal of ‘Beautiful’ Confederate Monuments and Statues

Workers load a statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on a flatbed truck in the early hours of Wednesday in Baltimore. A campaign to remove symbols of the Civil War-era, pro-slavery secessionist republic is gathering momentum across the United States. Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images
Workers load a statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on a flatbed truck in the early hours of Wednesday in Baltimore. A campaign to remove symbols of the Civil War-era, pro-slavery secessionist republic is gathering momentum across the United States.
Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump stood by his heavily criticized defense of monuments commemorating the Confederacy in a series of tweets Thursday morning. Trump said removing the statues of Confederate generals meant removing “beauty” — that would “never able to be comparably replaced” — from American cities. As he did in a Tuesday press conference, he also attempted to equate some Confederate generals with some of the Founding Fathers.

Strung together, the tweets read:

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. 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!” [ellipses removed for clarity]

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters declined to discuss the tweets with reporters on Thursday morning, saying, “The tweets speak for themselves.”

The online postings come after days of the president whipsawing back and forth on his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., that led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer after a man who had attended the white supremacist rally drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

Shortly after that incident, Trump condemned both the white nationalist protesters and the counterprotesters, saying there was an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

After Democrats and Republicans alike castigated him for those remarks, the president came out more forcefully against racist groups on Monday, declaring that “racism is evil” and characterizing members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “criminals and thugs.”

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SOURCE: NPR, Danielle Kurtzleben