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Trump Mourns Removal of Confederate Statues in Latest Tweets

August 17, 2017, 1:53 PM UTC

As Confederate statues and memorials are being removed across the U.S. following the violence at a weekend rally by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to complain about the actions, calling it “sad” and saying the “culture of our great country [is] being ripped apart.”

Trump also said if city and state officials were willing to take down statues and monuments of Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, America’s founding fathers—such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—could go next.

Trump’s comments about Lee and Washington echo an email one of his senior legal advisors forwarded to government officials and conservative media claiming that the Black Lives Matter movement has been “infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

In that note, John Dowd, head of Trump’s legal team, reportedly said of Lee and Washington: “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there is literally no difference between the two men.”

The tweets come just two days after Trump reiterated his thoughts that both left- and right-wing extremists became violent during the rally in Charlottesville, saying “both sides” were to blame.

“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch,” Trump said of the participants in the deadly protest. “There was a group on this side. You can call them the left…that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

The reaction has been harsh from both sides of the political aisle—and has led to speculation that some top officials may quit his administration. Business CEOs have already distanced themselves from the President.