‘Truly a nightmare’: Trump calls for ‘dismantle’ of US statues in Washington
President Donald Trump on Friday urged the removal of the US statues of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jefferson and other Confederate leaders from public spaces, but said the move was not a direct threat.
“We don’t want to be the first country to be taken down, but it’s not going to happen,” Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“It’s not gonna happen.”
He said the statues were “an unnecessary and embarrassing distraction” to the nation.
Mr Trump, whose campaign slogan is ‘Make America Great Again’, has often criticised the statues, but the move came as the US government and the city of Washington announced the removal this week of three monuments erected by former presidents Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Andrew Jackson.
Mr Lee, the first president to be killed in battle, was the commander in chief of the Confederate army that battled the Union Army during the American Civil War, which began in 1861.
Mr Jefferson was the first US president to have a slave-owning wife and was among the first to declare independence from Britain.
Mr Jackson, the last Confederate general, was a prominent figure in the US South, and the state where he was born.
Mr Nixon, the third president, was assassinated on July 4, 1846.
He was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery, which is in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, but his family and many supporters in Charlottesville have called for the removal.
US President Donald Trumps first visit to the White House in 2021.
US Representative Mike Pompeo said Mr Trump should move on to other matters before making a final decision on the removal or removal of monuments.
Mr Pompeo also said the president should also appoint a special prosecutor to look into potential obstruction of justice allegations against the former president.
“The president should do what’s right for America and his own people,” Mr Pompeos statement said.
“He should appoint a Special Prosecutor.”
The White House said Mr Pompeoy and Mr Trump spoke about the monuments “in a cordial and cordial manner” and he added that the president “reaffirmed his support for the historical integrity of the monuments”.
“The President has always been clear about his desire to see them preserved for future generations to enjoy,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
“Mr Trump will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead and will continue moving forward in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.”
Mr Trump has also said he would not “get involved” in the debate over removing the Confederate monuments.
“I don’t get involved in that, but I think it’s really hard to have statues, or any other kind of symbols, that are so wrong, because I think that is wrong,” he said in June.