Trump on tearing down Confederate statues: Is George Washington next?

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President Trump pushed back against new initiatives to remove Confederate statues during a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, appearing to defend those protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., last week.

“I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it,” Trump said. “And you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

“They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” he continued. “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?”

{mosads}One woman died and at least 19 people were injured after a driver with ties to white supremacists rammed his car into counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday.

White nationalist, white supremacist and alt-right groups were scheduled to gather in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city’s decision to remove the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue there. 

But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.

White supremacists also marched through Charlottesville, Va., Friday night holding tiki torches ahead of the planned rally.

In the wake of the attacks, a series of other cities have said they would remove statues of Confederate soldiers and leaders. Protesters have also started fighting to tear down such statues, including the statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Charleston, W.Va.

Demonstrators in Durham, N.C., tore down a statue of a Confederate soldier on Monday night. 

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