Trump: ‘You can’t change his­tory’

Ef­forts to re­move rebel mon­u­ments ‘fool­ish,’ he says

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY WASH­ING­TON Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day blasted two crit­i­cal GOP sen­a­tors and de­fended Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments — a new flash­point in the de­bate about how to bridge the na­tion’s racial di­vide.

“You can’t change his­tory, but you can learn from it,” he said dur­ing a flurry of tweets protest­ing statue and mon­u­ment re­moval. “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jack­son - who’s next, Wash­ing­ton, Jef­fer­son? So fool­ish!” The white su­prem­a­cists who gath­ered at the “Unite the Right” rally in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last week­end said they were there to protest the city’s plans to re­move a statue of Lee.

Trump is still fac­ing a po­lit­i­cal firestorm for dou­bling down Tues­day on his claims that “both sides” were at fault for the vi­o­lence in Char­lottesville, even af­ter one al­leged white na­tion­al­ist was charged with mur­der af­ter ram­ming his car into a crowd of pro­test­ers, killing 32year-old Heather Heyer and in­jur­ing 19.

The clashes have en­er­gized lo­cal move­ments to re­move Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues from pub­lic ar­eas across the coun­try. Crit­ics in­sist the mon­u­ments cel­e­brate the Civil War de­fense of slav­ery and are a last­ing sym­bol of white supremacy.

Trump’s re­sponse to Char­lottesville has deep­ened di­vi­sions within the Repub­li­can Party. Ear­lier Thurs­day, Trump at­tacked two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors who have crit­i­cized his re­sponse to the Char­lottesville at­tack.

First, Trump went af­ter Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, say­ing the South Carolinian falsely ac­cused him of of­fer­ing “moral equiv­a­lency” be­tween the white su­prem­a­cist groups and coun­ter­protesters.

“Such a dis­gust­ing lie,” Trump tweeted. “He just can’t for­get his elec­tion trounc­ing. The peo­ple of South Carolina will re­mem­ber!”

Trump made a more ex­plicit threat to back a pri­mary chal­lenger for Ari­zona Sen. Jeff Flake, prais­ing the lat­ter’s Repub­li­can pri­mary op­po­nent.

“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is run­ning against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-fac­tor in Sen­ate,” Trump tweeted. “He’s toxic!”

Flake has also writ­ten a book crit­i­ciz­ing Trump, say­ing his be­hav­ior is un­der­cut­ting the GOP and its con­ser­va­tive phi­los­o­phy.

Don­ald Trump

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