Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Lee falls, will George Washington be next?

Lee falls, will George Washington be next?

And when I went on from there. "About this Robert E. Lee thing, I'm nothing like that guy", Fallon's Washington said. So making the statement when I made it was excellent.

Trump declined, however, to say he supported keeping or removing the statue, and said such decisions should be left "to a local town community or the federal government depending on where it is located". Do they have any semblance of guilt?. "You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?" What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? They did, and problematically so. I think they do. "But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me", Trump said.

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed from Lee Circle Friday, May 19, 2017, in New Orleans.

On Saturday Night Live's Thursday night "Weekend Update", Michael Che invited George Washington, as played by Jimmy Fallon, on to defend himself. And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?

Trump appeared incredulous at the prospect of removing the statues, and implied that removing Confederate statues was akin to removing monuments for Washington and Jefferson, both men who championed the cause of liberty for the USA against the British while they also owned slaves. "Washington and Jefferson have monuments not because of the slaves but because they fought the British, founded the country, and wrote the Declaration of Independence. So will George Washington now lose his status?" Are we going to take down the statue? How about Thomas Jefferson? You can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? You like him? Good.

When a nation has a leader who equates white supremacists with counter-protesters, blaming many sides for the turbulence in Charlottesville, and berates the CEO of Merck for leaving his manufacturing council, it is clear we have an administration not only in a crisis but also one that his galloping precipitously over a cliff, and determined to take all of us with it. Because he was a major slave-owner. "Now are we going to take down his statue?"

But what about Trump's belief that by taking down these statues, America is "changing history" and "changing culture"? 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. A man drove a vehicle into a group of counter-protesters Saturday, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats.

About half of Americans disapproved of the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from a park in Charlottesville, according to a recent YouGov poll, but a closer look shows the divide is broken out largely by political party or race.

Trump's attempt to anneal the division and fix his initial comments about the violence in Charlottesville that left one dead and many injured only made a bad situation worse. After significant criticism for equating the two sides, Trump issued a statement Monday condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

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