'Is It George Washington Next Week?': Trump Blasts Monument Removals as 'Changing History'
President Trump said white nationalists involved in the weekend's unrest in Charlottesville were abhorrent, but also blasted the far-left activists for similarly turning violent.
Trump added that the left has been on somewhat of a mission to tear down Confederate monuments and other controversial icons.
"I think there's blame on both sides," he said, adding specifically that James Fields, the driver of the car that killed Heather Heyer at the protests, is a "murderer."
He responded to a reporter's question about "alt-right" violence by condemning the KKK and white nationalism, but also noting that many of the left-wing protesters engaged in similar levels of violence.
"What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands," Trump said of Antifa protesters. "That was a horrible, horrible day."
He said that just as there were innocent citizens voicing their opinion for the removal of the city's Robert E. Lee statue, there were also innocent demonstrators there to speak out against its removal.
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But, Trump said it was unwise to continue to remove monuments like Lee's.
He said the idea behind the demonstrations calling for the removal of Confederate monuments was that the structures memorialized were often slaveholders.
Trump said that "this week... it's Robert E. Lee. And, I heard Stonewall Jackson is coming down."
"Is George Washington [coming down] next week. And, is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" Trump said, noting both American icons were slaveholders in Virginia.
"You're changing history. You're changing culture," he said, reiterating that, nonetheless, "neo-Nazi's and white nationalists should be condemned totally."
"The press has treated them absolutely unfairly," he said of those folks that support the monuments staying where they are.
He concluded his Q&A by noting he is well-acclimated with Charlottesville, as he owns the Trump Winery just south of town.
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