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Confederate monuments: Trump says history 'being ripped apart'; Stonewall Jackson kin says take them down

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published August 17, 2017 at 10:32 a.m. Updated August 17, 2017 at 3:53 p.m.

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FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at the White House in Washington. Trump is renewing his attacks on Amazon, and he says the company is "doing great damage to tax paying retailers." Amazon did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump decried the rising movement to pull down monuments to Confederate icons Thursday, declaring the nation is seeing "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart."

Trump's remarks came as the White house tried to manage his increasing isolation and the continued fallout from his combative previous comments on last weekend's racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

He also tore into fellow Republicans who have criticized his statements on race and politics after last weekend's racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Pressured by advisers, the president had taken a step back from the dispute Monday, two days after he had angered many by declining to single out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose demonstration against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statute had led to violence and the death of a counter-protester in Charlottesville.

He returned to his combative stance Tuesday — insisting anew that "both sides" were to blame. And then in a burst of tweets Thursday he renewed his criticism of efforts to remove memorials and tributes to the Civil War Confederacy.

"You can't change history, but you can learn from it," he tweeted. "Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson — who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish. ...

"Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!"

But thee great-great-grandson of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson said Thursday that the monument to the legendary Confederate general and others in Virginia's capital city were constructed as symbols of white supremacy and should be taken down.

Jack Christian told The Associated Press that he used to be open to the idea that the statues on Richmond's famed Monument Avenue — which memorialize southern Civil War heroes, including Jackson — might be acceptable if context were added to explain why they was built.

However, the racially charged violence in Charlottesville has shown that to be impossible, he said.

"They were constructed to be markers of white supremacy. They were constructed to make black people fearful," Christian said. "I can only imagine what persons of color who have to walk and drive by those every morning think and feel."

Jack Christian and his brother Warren Christian said in a letter to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney published by Slate on Wednesday that it is "long overdue" for the "overt symbols of white racism and white supremacy" to be removed. The men said they want to make clear that the statue — and their great-great-grandfather's actions — do not represent them.

Michael Shoop, who wrote a book on the genealogy of the Jackson family, confirmed that the men are descendants of the Confederate general.

Jack Christian told the AP that he's pleased the Richmond mayor is now saying the city will consider removing or relocating its Confederate statues. The mayor had previously said he thought the monuments should stay but have context added about what they represent and why they were built.

However, Stoney said a commission of historians, experts and community leaders appointed to study the issue will begin considering the "removal and/or relocation of some or all" of the statues in light of the events in Charlottesville, where white supremacists rallied after the city voted to remove of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"While we had hoped to use this process to educate Virginians about the history behind these monuments, the events of the last week may have fundamentally changed our ability to do so by revealing their power to serve as a rallying point for division and intolerance and violence," Stoney said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a descendant of Jefferson Davis said he supports moving the statues to appropriate settings, such as museums.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, a great-great-grandson of Davis, told the AP that he believes that "complete removal is wrong." But the descendant of the Confederate president said that putting the statues "in a historic place where the entire story can be explained is the best outcome for the American public."

Chaos broke out at the Charlottesville rally, which included neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members, and is believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade. They clashed violently with counterdemonstrators, and after authorities ordered the crowd to disperse, a car plowed into a group of marchers, killing a woman and injuring 19 others. Two state police troopers who had been monitoring the chaos were also killed when their helicopter crashed outside the city.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Confederate monuments: Trump says history 'being ripped apart'; Stonewall Jackson kin says take them down

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RBear says... August 17, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

Trump's statements on this are what's foolish. History will not be "ripped apart" by the removal of these statues by local governing bodies. The history of a South who chose to rebel against "our great country" to protect the rights of men to own men, women, and children as slaves will still remain. What will be removed are the monuments venerating the leaders of that rebellion who's only real claim to history was to lead young men into battle for that unjust cause.
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Trump likes to bring Washington, Jefferson, and others into this debate even though the reference is inaccurate. Leaders of the Confederacy were honored for their role in the rebellion to protect slavery. While Washington, Jefferson, and others may have owned slaves, it was at a time when the nation was beginning to reject the institution of slavery. In fact, Jefferson had even tried to insert a clause opposing it into the Declaration of Independence that was rejected by the Southern delegates.
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Lee himself opposed such monuments, understanding the conflicts and problems they would cause. From an article on the issue, “Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker. He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive.”
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Lee was right and Trump is wrong.

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ARMNAR says... August 17, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.

Has Trump ever heard of "books?"

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LR1955 says... August 17, 2017 at noon

What's foolish is looooooooooong comments ^^^^

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RBear says... August 17, 2017 at 12:12 p.m.

LR, sorry if there's too much information for you to comprehend. I'l fix that.
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Trump, big fat idiot. Trump demographic, big dumb bunch of people who believe anything he says.

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mrcharles says... August 17, 2017 at 12:25 p.m.

Short comment in lR's behalf. Grind up statutes, build mosque with them. They if the statute was that important worship the mosque.

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23cal says... August 17, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

So removing statues = "erasing history." Isn't it remarkable that we don't have a single statue of Adolf Hitler on any state capitol grounds or any public parks and yet people know all about him? Ditto for like thousands of other figures from history. It's almost like that line is total bullshift or something.

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Packman says... August 17, 2017 at 1:12 p.m.

Gawd Bless President Donald J Trump! Some 50 million people voted for him hoping he would be the anti-politician, calling it as it sees it without varnish, political correctness, or tribalism. In many ways Donald Trump is a lib's worst nightmare - a politician with differing points of view unafraid of being called racist, sexist, bigot, etc. simply for speaking truth. GAWD BLESS DONALD TRUMP!
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In other news Arkansas continues to worship rabid racists and segregationists named Fulbright, McClellan, Mills, and Faubus.

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PopulistMom says... August 17, 2017 at 1:18 p.m.

Packman,

I somewhat agree with you. We should name more things after Daisy Bates, Winthrop Rockefeller, Brook Hays, and Pratt Remmel. I had dinner at the Robert E. Lee Hotel in Lexington, VA last night. It was just an ironic coincidence. We'd had dinner plans to eat there with another couple for weeks. Not everything will be torn down everywhere. However, there really is no need for a Robert E. Lee statue in every Southern town.

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hah406 says... August 17, 2017 at 1:23 p.m.

Don't forget that most of those monuments or statues were erected in the 1920's -1940's as a symbol of intimidation of blacks and part of Jim Crow. Why would Baltimore, a city in a state that did not participate in the Civil War, need confederate memorials? They were erected in 1946 to make sure returning black service men knew their place.

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jumpedcut says... August 17, 2017 at 1:32 p.m.

Hey Pack, please tell us which place in Arkansas rabidly worships Orval Faubus?

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