Trump says US culture being 'ripped apart' by Confederate memorial removals

PHOTO: President Donald Trump holds a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Aug. 15, 2017.PlayAl Drago/The New York Times via Redux
WATCH Trump says US culture being 'ripped apart' by Confederate memorial removals

President Donald Trump today called the removal of Confederate statues and memorials “sad,” days after deadly violence surrounding a rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he wrote in a series of three tweets. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. 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!”

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters would not expand on Trump’s tweets, saying, “The tweets speak for themselves.”

The tweets echo a sentiment he touched on during a particularly combative news conference Tuesday, when he questioned whether statues of former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, for example, should be removed as well because they were slaveowners.

“You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Trump said Tuesday, referring to brawls between rally attendees and counterprotesters in Charlottesville.

“There were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said.

Asked whether all statues of Lee should remain in place, Trump replied, “I would say that’s up to a local town, community or the federal government, depending on where it is located.”

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.