- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2017

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is calling for Confederate monuments in the commonwealth to be taken down and moved to museums in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend resulting from a white nationalist rally.

“They need to come down. They’re divisive symbols,” Mr. McAuliffe said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”

Mr. McAuliffe said that localities and the state legislature have the legal authority to do so.

“It’s time for these monuments to come down. It’s time for us to move together after what happened in Charlottesville,” he said.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 other people were injured Saturday, when a car plowed into a crowd of anti-racism protesters after they had demonstrated against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. The white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other “alt-right” demonstrators had descended on the city to protest its removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Mr. McAuliffe’s remarks on Thursday marked a change of heart for the Democratic governor.

Calls for the removal of Confederate symbols and monuments were teeming across the country in 2015 after a white man shot and killed nine black congregants inside a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The gunman, Dylann Roof, had posed for photos with the Stars and Bars Confederate flag.

At that time, Mr. McAuliffe banned Confederate flags on state license plates but defended Confederate statues as part of Virginia’s heritage.

“I am sticking just with the license plates because I do think that is a message that is so hurtful, that flag, to folks,” he said in an interview on MSNC. “But not statues. I mean, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, these are all parts of our heritage.”

On Thursday, Mr. McAuliffe said neo-Nazis and the “alt-right” didn’t come to Charlottesville last weekend because of a statue.

“There is hatred, there is bigotry that has been unleashed in this country, and we need to understand how it’s happened — most importantly, what we can do going forward as a nation,” he said.

“These were not patriots. These were cowards,” the governor said. “There’s no place in America for this type of hatred.”

Mr. McAuliffe said that he recently spoke to President Trump and that Mr. Trump should come to Charlottesville if he wants to bring a unifying message with him.

“If the president wants to come to Charlottesville and address our citizens, talk about how we can heal as a nation and how we need to move … forward — that is what the president of the United States should do,” he said.

“I do not want the president to come here to continue on with the speeches that he’s given the last couple days,” he said. “Those speeches are dividing us.”

Mr. Trump on Saturday denounced the violence in Charlottesville without calling out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis, saying there was blame “on many sides.” In a speech on Monday, he did call out the “alt-right,” but during a press conference on Tuesday, he reverted back to his original statement, saying there were “very fine people” on both sides.

Meanwhile, a statue dedicated to Confederate soldiers was vandalized outside the Loudoun County Courthouse early Thursday, police said.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the statue was spray-painted with graffiti that included obscene language.

Workers made repairs Thursday morning to the statue, which was not permanently damaged.

The statue, dedicated in 1908 in the memory of Loudoun County’s Confederate soldiers, sits outside the county courthouse in downtown Leesburg.

The county has long debated whether the statue should be moved, but a state law bans local governments from moving war memorials.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide