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President Trump tweeted on Thursday that the removal of Confederate statues from cities and towns across the country is “beauty that… will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday was inspired by the planned removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park. Baltimore city authorities removed four statues this week. Activists pulled down a statue in Durham, North Carolina. Other cities – including Baltimore, Lexington, Dallas and Memphis – are planning to remove statues from their public spaces.
Trump started tweeting on Thursday morning that it was “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart”.
Trump's “who's next, Washington?” comment is reminiscent of his controversial press conference on Tuesday when he backed the white supremacists in Charlottesville – who he says were “not all” white supremacists – because “they wanted to protest the taking down for the statue of Robert E. Lee”.
Trump: I've condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch.
Reporter: Well, white nationalists-
Trump: Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. So … Excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see and you'd know it if you were honest reporters — which in many cases you're not. But many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So, 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? But they were there to protest- excuse me. you take a look the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of the Robert E. Lee. Infrastructure question.
As New York Times journalist Mike Barbaro noted, Donald Trump wasn't so careful about protecting historical beauty when it came to building Trump Tower back in 1979.