The Washington Post reports: President Trump on Thursday assumed the role of leading spokesman for the racially charged cause of preserving Confederate statues on public grounds, couching his defense in historical terms that thrilled his core supporters and signaled his intent to use cultural strife as a political weapon just days after deadly violence in Virginia.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“So foolish!” he added, bemoaning efforts in several municipalities to take down Confederate tributes.
Trump’s celebration of monuments from a dark chapter of American history sparked wide debate over its consequences for his embattled presidency and the nation’s civic fabric, as well as over the challenges facing both parties as he delves into the culture wars.
A chorus of Republicans expressed alarm over Trump’s words and their potential cost with voters. But Trump’s allies inside and outside the White House, most notably White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, argued that Trump’s pronouncements would rally his political base — while also serving as a welcome distraction from the policy stumbles and investigations that have hobbled the administration. [Continue reading…]
The Washington Post reports: Workers dismantled a 145-year-old statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney outside the Maryland State House shortly after midnight Friday, the latest ripple effect from last weekend’s deadly violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said his revulsion at what happened in Charlottesville — at a demonstration purportedly in defense of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — prompted him to change his mind about the Taney statute and push for its removal, an act long sought by civil rights groups.
The State House Trust board voted Wednesday to remove the memorial to Taney, a former chief justice who defended slavery in the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision. Taney’s ruling said blacks, whether slaves or not, could never be U.S. citizens. [Continue reading…]