During his remarks at tonight’s Tulsa rally, President Trump slammed movements across the country looking to remove or replace monuments honoring Confederate generals, telling supporters:
“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statutes, and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming.”
Trump went on to add: “This cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose a new oppressive regime it its place.”
On Wednesday, an official pushed back against reports the Trump administration was considering renaming bases named for Confederate generals, telling CNN’s Jason Hoffman: “This is incorrect. The President reiterated today that we won’t be erasing our history and isn’t considering changing the names of bases.”
Some context: The death of George Floyd is leading to the removal — by protesters, in some cases, and city leaders, in others — of contentious statues that have riled some residents for decades, if not longer.
Controversial monuments, especially Confederate monuments, have been the subject of nationwide debate, particularly since Dylann Roof killed nine African Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015 in an effort to “start a race war.”
And it flared up again after white nationalists marched in 2017 to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter protester was killed amid violent clashes between demonstrators.
Some say they mark history and honor heritage. Others argue they are racist symbols of America’s dark legacy of slavery. While some cities have already made efforts to remove them, others have passed laws to protect them.