Trump tells black people who want statues taken down they ‘need to learn’ from history and not erase an entire era otherwise ‘you’re going to go back to it sometime’
- Donald Trump was interviewed by Fox for a show broadcast Sunday evening
- Trump, who has made protecting statues a priority, was asked about the policy
- He was asked his message to black Americans whose ‘ancestors were enslaved’
- Trump replied: ‘My message is that we have a great country’
- He continued that black Americans ‘have to learn’ or they ‘will go back to it again’
Donald Trump has said that black people who want statues of slave owners and Confederate figures removing should ‘learn from the history’ or risk ‘going to go back to it sometime’.
Calls to remove statues of Confederate figures and those connected to slavery have been mounting in recent weeks in the wake of global Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Protesters have either defaced or caused destruction on dozens of statues
But Donald Trump has urged protesters to think again – particularly black Americans who want of the country’s slave-owning founders removed – and claimed ‘we should learn from the history’.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday night, the President said: ‘My message is that we have a great country, we have the greatest country on Earth.
Donald Trump on Sunday evening discussed statues of slave holders and Confederate leaders
‘We have a heritage, we have a history and we should learn from the history, and if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again. You will go right back to it. You have to learn.
‘Think of it, you take away that whole era and you’re going to go back to it sometime. People won’t know about it. They’re going to forget about it. It’s okay.’
Trump said that he had been upset about questioning of George Washington’s legacy.
He added: ‘You have to understand history, and our culture, and so many other aspects. But you can’t take down George Washington.’
Trump told Brian Kilmeade that the U.S. has ‘a great history’ that should not be forgotten
He said that some people want to take down Lincoln, Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant.
‘Here is the other problem that I have — a lot of these people don’t even know what they are taking down,’ he said.
‘I see what’s happening on television, and they are ripping down things they have no idea what they are ripping down, but they started off with the Confederates and now go to Ulysses Grant so what is that all about?’
Grant beat the Confederates and ended the Civil War before becoming president, but also married into a family that owned slaves.
Trump said he was open to the idea of erecting new statues ‘to great people; people that have done something.’
He added: ‘But you don’t want to take away our heritage and history and the beauty, in many cases, the beauty, the artistic beauty.
‘Some of the sculptures and some of this work is some of the great — you can go to France, you can go anywhere in the world and you will never see more magnificent work.
‘And that’s a factor. It’s not the biggest factor but it’s a factor.’
Protesters on Monday evening attempted to topple the statue of Andrew Jackson
Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled his statue down in Richmond, Virginia, on June 10
A statue of Christopher Columbus is in the water at Byrd Park in Richmond on June 9
Trump has made protecting statues a high-profile policy priority, repeatedly tweeting his anger at attempts to remove the monuments.
Trump boasted Sunday morning that no more statues or monuments were defaced this weekend because he signed an executive order that would give 10-year prison sentences for those vandals.
‘Since imposing a very powerful 10 year prison sentence on those that Vandalize Monuments, Statues etc., with many people being arrested all over our Country, the Vandalism has completely stopped. Thank you!’ he lauded.
On Saturday he tweeted 15 ‘wanted’ posters for those involved in efforts last week to topple Andrew Jackson’s bronze likeness outside the White House.
Jackson, the seventh president, was a populist outsider and oversaw the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands to new territory west of the Mississippi. He remains a personal hero of Trump’s.