- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2017

President Trump on Thursday said it’s “sad to see” the United States’ history and culture getting “ripped apart” as some localities look to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces following last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday. “You…can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” the president tweeted.

“Also…the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he tweeted.

At the center of the white nationalist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville over the weekend was a decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Mr. Trump had said at a news conference Tuesday that it should be up to localities — or potentially the federal government — on what happens with such statues.

“This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,” he said Tuesday. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”

“You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” he said. “They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”

The protests turned violent, and one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed after a car plowed through a crowd of counterprotesters. Two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, also died in a helicopter crash after they had been in the air to monitor the unfolding events.

Baltimore removed several monuments earlier this week, and other officials and localities have said they’re at least exploring the possibility of moving the monuments out of public spaces.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said Thursday the statues were removed late at night to try to avoid protests, as well as traffic.

She said she recognizes that some people see them as symbols of history but that the country needs to heal.

“I just thought it was the right way to do it,” Ms. Pugh said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “No pomp and circumstances — just get the work done.”

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