United States cities wrestle with Confederate statues' fate

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the violence injuries and deaths at the

Historians and a host of others have recently written articles, appeared on news shows, and engaged in tweetstorms to show that these monuments have little, if anything, to do with the actual civil war or the so-called heroes of the Confederacy.

Despite the party's talk of inclusiveness and minority outreach, it's clear white fears continue to resonate with many in the GOP base.

Pressured by advisers, the president had softened his words on the dispute Monday but returned to his combative stance Tuesday - insisting during an unexpected and contentious news conference at Trump Tower that "both sides" were to blame. "There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!" But Reid says black people knew better than to speak out.

"Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson?"

The council has since voted to rename the park and remove the statue, but the move was temporarily halted by a lawsuit filed on behalf of several Confederate heritage groups.

The President is right on one count here: You cannot change history, and by its very definition, no one can erase it.

Yet Republican officeholders, including the president, have found success by seizing on semi-hidden "dog whistle" rhetoric and policies largely created to appeal to whites.

Similar disputes over memorials to the Lost Cause have been playing out in other parts of the country over the past few years, but because of Virginia's deep ties to the Confederacy, the past is never very far from the surface here, and passions run high.

- Trump's promise to build a massive wall along the southern USA border resonates with conservatives across the West and even in overwhelmingly white Northeastern states where Republicans fear the influx of illegal Hispanic immigrants.

Virginia is the state with the most Confederate symbols with 223. Senator Luther Strange, appointed to the seat when Trump tapped Jeff Sessions as attorney general, made no reference to racial motivations at all.

Confederate symbols and monuments are viewed by many Americans as symbols of hate.

The careful language reflects a political reality in a state where almost all Republican votes come from white voters, said David Mowery, an Alabama political consultant who has worked for Republicans and Democrats.

"I don't think here that any Republican benefits by talking about it or is necessarily hurt by not talking about it", he said.

"The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the ability or the competence that he needs to be successful", said Corker, who Trump had considered for the job of secretary of state.

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, called for the immediate removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. Long before Trump warned that those who want to dismantle Confederate statues may move on to monuments of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Stewart was making the same point and managed to elevate it into a major topic of discussion.

"We have stared down racism and Nazism and white supremacy before, and we will stare it down again", the Republican candidate for governor told a local TV station.

In Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Jim Gray has proposed removing statues from one city park, formerly the site of a slave auction block and whipping post.

Stewart is now running for the Senate in 2018.

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