President Donald Trump said Thursday that it is “sad” and “foolish” that Confederate statues are being taken down in U.S. cities including Baltimore and New Orleans.
In a series of tweets, Trump expressed disappointment that the country’s history and culture was being “ripped apart” as “beautiful statues and monuments” are being removed and placed in storage.
“You can’t change history, but you can learn from it,” the president tweeted. “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”
Trump’s tweets came in the wake of last weekend’s violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The violence ultimately resulted in three deaths, and Trump was excoriated for his response, which wavered between a tepid condemnation and an equivocal defense of the racist groups involved.
Baltimore removed four monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy during the predawn hours Wednesday. The statues, including one of Gen. Robert E. Lee and another of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, were taken off their bases in Wyman Park Dell and towed away on a flatbed truck.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who said removing the statues was the right thing to do, added that she and the city council decided to remove the monuments “quickly and quietly.”
“I think any city that has Confederate statues is concerned about violence occurring,” Pugh told reporters.