In the middle of criticism from people saying he hasn’t gone far enough in condemning the acts of hate groups, President Donald Trump on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the intense violence.
Trump, speaking to reporters at Trump Tower after signing an infrastructure measure, berated the media and their coverage of his comments following the death of a 32-year-old woman in a domestic terrorism incident in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The incident was spurred by a large group of demonstrators in the ciry that had organized to protest a proposal to remove a Robert E. Lee monument from a local park. The legislation brought hordes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis to the area, which led to violent clashes with counter protesters and authorities.
On Saturday, a man allegedly drove his vehicle into a group of counter protesters, striking and killing Heather Heyer and injuring another 19 people.
The Robert E. Lee monument is just one of the many Confederate statues around the nation people have taken aim at in recent years for the hate many see them depicting.
On August 14, a group of protesters in Durham, North Carolina pulled down a Confederate soldier statue and kicked it while it laid on the ground.
The incident took place outside of the old Durham County courthouse on Main street. Hundreds of people were protesting the fact the Confederate monument still sat in front of a government building, as well as rallying against hate groups and Trump.
A statue dedicated to Confederate general “Stonewall” Jackson is no different, as there’s been pleas by various groups to take down the monument, which sits in front of the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston.
Here’s what you need to know about “Stonewall” Jackson and the statue:
1. Trump Compared the Removal of the Jackson Statue to Removing Monuments of Thomas Jefferson & George Washington
On Tuesday during his press conference, Trump responded to criticism for his previous statements on the violence in Charlottesville. The president said the process of taking down statues from around the nation is “changing history” and American culture, in essence echoing the beliefs of those marching in Charlottesville.
“This week it’s Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “I noticed Stonewall Jackson’s coming down, I wonder, is it George Washington next week? Is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Trump noted that Washington once owned slaves, so removing his statue would be similar in nature to the removal of Robert E. Lee’s or Stonewall Jacksons.
2. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson was the Second-Most Famous Confederate Commander
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was a Confederate general during the Civil War and is the best-known commander of the South after General Robert E. Lee. Many historians refer to Jackson as being one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.
Jackson earned the “Stonewall” nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. As his Confederate soldiers started to crumble under an assault by Union soldiers, Jackson’s brigade provided reinforcements, which showed the discipline the commander taught to his troops.
Brigade General Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr. was noted as seeing Jackson and saying: “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!”
Bee was killed almost immediately after saying the phrase, and there’s since been debate as to the actual meaning of his words. Some think it meant that Jackson had failed to come immediately to relieve the troops, while others believe it as meaning he was standing there like a determined stone wall.
After uttering the phrase, Jackson’s brigade became known as the Stonewall Brigade, which stopped the Union assault.
During the assault, Jackson held his left arm up to the sky with his palm facing forward, an infamous stance many saw as him thanking God for his brigade’s success.
3. Jackson Was Killed After Being Shot by 1 of His Own Men
Jackson died from complications he suffered after accidentally being shot by a Confederate soldier at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He survived after the ordeal, but had to have his left arm amputated.
Eight days later, while recovering from the incident, Jackson died from pneumonia. His death was seen as a huge loss for the Confederacy as the Union forces started to take over. After his death, though, he became an icon in the South for heroism and commitment.
According to reports from historians, Jackson remained “spiritually strong” on his death bed, saying “It is the Lord’s Day, my wish is fulfilled. I have always desired to die on Sunday.”
4. A Statue Was Created for Him in 1910 in West Virginia
In 1910, American soldier and sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel created a marble statue of Jackson that was placed on the grounds of the West Virginia State Capitol. A metal replica of the statue can also be found at the Virginia Military Institute, where first-year cadets have been required to salute it while exiting the barracks.
After the state capitol burned to the ground in 1921, the statue was moved to its current location.
The appearance of the statue on the state capitol grounds, which was the first statue on the grounds, has recently caused a stir, as many have called for its removal.
5. Demonstrators Rallied Against the Statue After the Charlottesville Violence
On August 13, over 150 demonstrators rallied outside of the West Virginia Capitol, voicing concern over the statue of the Confederate general.
The group called on Governor Jim Justice to remove the statue because it represents hate.
“I want people to know that hillbillies do not stand for this type of hate,” Dustin White of Charleston told WSAZ 3 News. “This is an issue that has been laying under the surface for quite some time.”
However, the group has been met with many counter-protesters, who agree with Trump’s view that the removal is taking away a piece of American history.
“They’re taking history away from the kids,” James Chapman told the news outlet. “Just because some idiots in Charlottesville went crazy, some KKK members and some white supremacists, a bunch of idiots. That doesn’t mean that we’re idiots in West Virginia, in Charleston.”