Trump mourns loss of ‘beautiful statues and monuments’ in wake of Charlottesville rally over Robert E. Lee statue

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Trump mourns loss of ‘beautiful statues and monuments’ in wake of Charlottesville rally over Robert E. Lee statueby wpjljron.Trump mourns loss of ‘beautiful statues and monuments’ in wake of Charlottesville rally over Robert E. Lee statuePresident Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments” in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee. Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with […]

President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments” in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.

Trump’s string of morning tweets made clear the president was not willing to back down over his claims Tuesday that some of the demonstrators had legitimate grievances over the loss of Southern “history,” and that “both sides” were to blame in the mayhem that left a woman dead and at least 19 more injured. Trump made those claims a day after he had belatedly condemned the neo-Nazi and Klux Klan groups that organized the Unite the Right rally. Politicians from both parties have criticized the president for inflaming racial tensions and failing to provide clear moral leadership for the nation.

Some white supremacist leaders, including David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, have praised Trump for his “honesty” and “courage.”

During his remarks Tuesday and again in his tweets Thursday, Trump argued that Lee and fellow Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, who commanded Southern forces in the Civil War to secede from the United States, are important and admired historical figures in the South. He said they could be equated to Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves and thus could potentially be subject to a modern-day backlash that would tarnish their legacies.

The political backlash to Trump’s handling of the situation has left some White House advisers dispirited. But the president appears to have been emboldened to fight back against his critics and create a cultural wedge issue over the matter that could rally his base of hard-core supporters.

Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, said in interviews this week that he relishes a fight with Democrats over cultural issues because it will allow the president to “crush” his rivals by focusing on the economy.

“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” Bannon told the American Prospect. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

There is little polling of public opinion over what to do with Confederate monuments. An NPR/PBS survey conducted on Monday and Tuesday by Marist College found that 62 percent said statues honoring Confederate leaders should remain as a historical symbol; 27 percent said they should be removed because they are offensive to some people.

That poll found a large political divide: Republicans prefer to keep statues by 86 percent to 6 percent, while Democrats split 44 percent for keeping them and 47 percent for removing them. African Americans in the survey were roughly split on the question (44 percent keep, 40 percent remove).

Bannon, who ran the conservative, “alt-right” Breitbart News operation before joining Trump’s campaign, has been at odds with other top White House advisers and grown increasingly isolated. Asked if he still had confidence in Bannon during a news conference Tuesday, Trump called him a “good man” and said he was not a racist. “We’ll see what happens with  Mr. Bannon,” Trump said.

In an interview with the New York Times, Bannon defended Trump’s comparison between the Confederate generals and the Founding Fathers, saying it “connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions.

“The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist,” Bannon added. “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”

Trump is at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., on the second week of a working vacation. Aides said he will meet with Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and with Linda McMahon, head of the Small Business Administration. McMahon will provide the president an update on the agency’s tax reform and deregulation initiative.

Trump has not yet spoken to the mayor of Charlottesville or Heyer’s parents. The president is scheduled to spend Friday at Camp David with senior aides to discuss the administration’s policy toward South Asia.

Washington Post polling director Scott Clement contributed to this report.

Source Article from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/17/trump-mourns-loss-of-beautiful-statues-and-monuments-in-wake-of-charlottesville-rally-over-robert-e-lee-statue/

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