Donald Trump has defied critics and sparked further controversy after taking to Twitter to lament the removal of Confederate statues around the United States.
The president expressed his disappointment after six states announced they were taking down Confederate statues and monuments following violent racial protests in Charlottesville, VA, that left one woman dead and more than 30 injured.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he wrote on Thursday.
“The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
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The statues and monuments represent key figures from the Confederacy, which is often referred to as one of the darkest times in American history.
Eleven southern states revolted against the US government between 1861-1865, sparking the Civil War and a torrid era of slavery and oppression.
Hundreds of statues honouring those who fought for the South were erected after the war ended, but debate over whether they are a part of history or racially offensive has divided Americans for decades.
Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have all announced they are removing Confederate symbols throughout their states following the deadly Charlottesville protest.
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Trump’s handling of the violent protest has been widely criticised after he failed to condemn the white supremacists who marched with torches through the streets of Charlottesville at the weekend.
He sparked outrage after going off script at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday where he said there were “fine people” on both sides of the protest.
White House staff were reportedly blindsided by his comments, with one senior staffer telling NBC News the president “went rogue” at the conference, which was meant to be about the economy and growing infrastructure.
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What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with Trump? Or do you think he’s comments are offensive?