Trump Calls Removing ‘Beautiful’ Monuments ‘Foolish’: Read
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Trump Calls Removing ‘Beautiful’ Monuments ‘Foolish’: Read

stonewall jackson Getty

The Stonewall Jackson statue that was removed in Baltimore, Maryland.

In an early morning tweet sure to be instantly controversial, President Donald Trump called removing “beautiful” Confederate monuments and statues “foolish.”

Trump did not specifically use the word Confederate in his tweet, but it came amidst news of more Confederate statues and monuments coming down throughout the U.S., making it clear what he meant. The Charlottesville protests were focused on the planned removal of the Robert E. Lee statue there. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was trending on Twitter when Trump’s tweet flew in because of efforts to remove honors to Jackson in New York, Baltimore and other places.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Trump tweeted. “The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

Here are the actual Trump tweets:

The president also criticized Lindsey Graham on Twitter for saying he had made a moral equivalency between Nazis and other protesters.

The Trump remarks were somewhat a reiteration of the comments that the president made in a dramatic and much-discussed press conference in which he defended his decision to condemn violence on “many sides” in the initial response to the Charlottesville car ramming attack that killed paralegal Heather Heyer, a counter protester. Trump later condemned white supremacists but was criticized for not calling them out immediately and for saying that there were good and bad people on both sides of the Charlottesville clashes. (James Alex Fields, an accused Hitler admirer, was charged in the murder of Heyer, and videos and photos showed Neo Nazis marching through the streets with torches.)

In that press conference, Trump also broached the fact that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and there are monuments to them. However, the president doubled down on August 17, taking it one step farther by dubbing the statues “beautiful” and removing them “foolish.”

In the earlier press conference, Trump had said, in part, “George Washington as a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down — excuse me. Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him. Good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner.”

GettyA statue of Stonewall Jackson atop his horse looks over Henry Hill at the battlefields of Manassas, or Bull Run as it was generally known in the North July 5, 2005 in Manassas, Virginia.

Meanwhile, on August 17, statue removals focused on Lee but also Jackson as some officials rushed to get rid of them.

“Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed from the CUNY hall of great Americans because New York stands against racism,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted.

On August 16, statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were removed from public parks in Baltimore, Maryland.

Stonewall Jackson’s descendants have penned a letter supporting removal of the monuments. Jack and Warren Christian penned the open letter asking for the removal of the statues in Richmond, Virginia.

“As two of the closest living relatives to Stonewall, we are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. Overnight, Baltimore has seen fit to take this action. Richmond should, too,” they wrote.

The “Unite the Right Rally” that drew Nazis and white supremacists to Charlottesville in the first place had focused on the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in that city’s park.

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18 Comments

JOHN MAYOR

DESCENDANT OF GEN. ROBERT E. LEE SAYS IT’S TIME FOR HIS ANCESTOR’S STATUES TO COME DOWN
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“People are dying because we have been complicit in our silence or in our action” – The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, Great-great-great-great-nephew of Robert E. Lee – by Carol Kuruvilla, HuffPost (HuffingtonPost(dot)com)
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General Robert E. Lee is the man who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War, defending the desire of Southern slave owners to keep human beings in chains.
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The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, IVth, the General’s great-great-great-great-nephew, has for years struggled with the legacy attached to the name he bears. And on Saturday, he followed along in horror when images surfaced online of a white nationalist rally defending a statue of his ancestor in Charlottesville, Va.
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As white nationalists clashed with counterprotestors… and the mayhem turned deadly… Lee said he was heartbroken.
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“It broke my heart to see a symbol of my family being used to allow such hate,” Lee told HuffPost. “All in the name of what my relative stood for.”
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The General, Lee, was a slave owner and Army Officer who married into a wealthy Virginia family and went on to become the General In Chief of the Confederate Army. After the war, he became a symbol of “The Lost Cause,” a revisionist narrative that reimagines the Civil War as a fight for constitutional ideals, instead of a fight about slavery.
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In the 1920s, as new Jim Crow laws came into effect, monuments and memorials to Lee began appearing in the South. The Charlottesville statue was erected in 1924, according to The Associated Press.
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The white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville on Saturday were there to protest the City’s decision to remove Lee’s statue from a local City park. Tensions between the white nationalists and their opponents flared into a physical brawl, which prompted law enforcement to sweep in and clear the area.
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After the rally was broken up, a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters walking down a nearby street. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old local resident, was killed in the crash, while at least 19 were injured.
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Robert Wright Lee, IV, is a Minister from North Carolina, and a descendant of General Robert E. Lee.
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Lee, who serves North Carolina’s Bethany United Church of Christ, was preparing to officiate at a wedding on Saturday, when he learned about what had happened in Charlottesville.
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While emphasizing that he doesn’t speak for all of the General’s descendants, the Minister said that he believed it was time for statues of his ancestor to come down.
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“These statues have morphed into a symbol of racism, a symbol of bigotry, a symbol of the alt-right, a symbol of white nationalist movements,” he said. “That is not okay, and that can never be celebrated or honored in any way… whether you believe you should honor legacy or ancestors, or not.”
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Lee already had a sermon ready to deliver at Broad Street United Methodist Church, where he had volunteered to be a visiting Preacher on Sunday. But he decided to switch gears to address the tragedy… challenging the Church to speak up in the face of racism, and bigotry.
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“It was not safe to be black or a person of color in Charlottesville yesterday. So I have to ask you, what were you doing yesterday? God, who calls us not to silence, but to redemption, was watching… and if you didn’t see the oppression… if it somehow missed you on social media, or the nightly news, you only have yourself to blame,” Lee said during the speech (according to a transcript of the sermon he posted, to his blog).
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“If you are silent at a moment like this, if you do not condemn the racism you see through whatever channels and avenues you have, you can leave Church now… because you’re doing Church wrong,” he said.
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It wasn’t the kind of sermon the Congregation hears often, Lee said. But it was important for White Christians to acknowledge the ways in which they may be complicit with perpetuating racism.
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“When we don’t acknowledge that white bodies matter more than black bodies in America right now, it’s a gross mishandling of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “People are dying because we have been complicit in our silence or in our action.”
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To conclude… to me, The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, will be henceforth known as, The Rev. RIGHT Lee!… and, for whom, a “RIGHTFUL” STATUE, may someday be built! Martin Luther King would be proud!… as I’m sure, Caryn E. Johnson, Chelsea Handler, Joy Behar and many other Americans, are today!
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Please!… no emails!… Jesus is Lord!
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P.S.: Well… it appears that the Robert E. Lee Statue– in particular!– is out the door! And!… in the light of the fact that it was created many years after the fact of the life and times of REL, is an indication that its creation, and its placement, was by way of forces that were more sinister, than not! And begs the question:… “Was the KKK behind the push to fashion and install the statue of General Robert E. Lee?” And!… if it is shown that this to be recycled metal was the “brainchild” of 20th century “politicosociopsychopaths”, then many other “objects of American disdain” will be meeting a similar fate! And those Confederates left standing– if any!– will be subject to the most critical of cross-examinations that our learned U.S. citizenry can oblige! Confederate judgement is due!… brass, marble, or otherwise!

labman57

Removing these structures that commemorate the Confederacy has nothing to do with “erasing history”.

You respect history by documenting it in permanent records.
You pay homage to the ideology of groups and persons by erecting statues and monuments to their memory.

We honor the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln for their roles in creating and preserving the nation.
We should not be honoring those who committed sedition in their efforts to split it asunder.

And neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klan members, etc. are not “good people”, no matter their motivation for congregating.

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