Trump on removing Confederate statues: 'They’re trying to take away our culture'

Trump on removing Confederate statues: 'They’re trying to take away our culture'
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President Trump reaffirmed once again Tuesday his claim that activists are trying to "take away" U.S. history and culture by calling for the removal of Confederate statues. 

"They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history," Trump said at a rally in Phoenix. "And our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, for a hundred years. You go back to a university and it's gone. Weak, weak people."

Trump's comments came as a national debate rages over Confederate statues in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month. 

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White nationalist and neo-Nazi groups had gathered in the Virginia college town to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

Over the past week, officials across the country have called for Confederate statues to be taken down. In Baltimore last week, for example, four of the city's Confederate statues were removed quietly overnight. 

In the wake of the mayhem, Trump defended the white nationalist protesters, saying they were there to oppose the removal of a "very, very important" statue.

He also argued that taking down such statues would lead to a slippery slope, in which monuments to Founding Fathers, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, would be desecrated. 

"They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said last week. “This week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”