Trump on Removal of Confederate Statues: 'Sad to See History and Culture Being Ripped Apart'

Memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau also weighs in, tweeting, 'One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people'

File photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaking to the press about protests in Charlottesville at Trump Tower in New York on August 15, 2017.
JIM WATSON/AFP

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to the removal of Confederate statues on Thursday, writing that it is "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart" and adding, "who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!"

Local and state officials have renewed pushes to remove Confederate imagery from public property since the violence and death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a white nationalist rally over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Baltimore and other cities have already removed or covered up Confederate statues.

Trump in a Thursday tweet called them “our beautiful statues and monuments” and said “you can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Trump continued. “The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

The tweets followed a week of tension and violence in the United States, following a "Unite the Right" protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of one woman. The country was left reeling as President Trump subsequent remarks were widely interpreted as encouraging white supremacists.

A number of senior Republicans denounced Charlottesville's events, distancing themselves from President Trump but not condemning him directly. 

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona criticized the president directly in a tweeted on Wednesday, "We can't claim to be the party of Lincoln if we equivocate in condemning white supremacy."

President Trump took aim at Flake, in a subsequet tweet, calling him "toxic." The president has already pledged to spend money to defeat the first-term senator, who recently released a book criticizing Trump.

The memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau also weighed in on the debate over U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the outpouring of anti-Semitic and racially charged hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The state museum wrote Thursday on Twitter: "One of the hardest lessons for us today. Perpetrators were people. They accepted an ideology that rationalized and promoted hatred & evil." Beneath the words is a photo of Auschwitz officers and guards smiling and having fun.

The message was posted in several languages two days after Trump made comments which appeared to rationalize the actions of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Virginia.
A museum spokesman told The Associated Press that people are free to interpret the message as they wish.