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President Trump defends confederate monuments, says country’s culture “being ripped apart”

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President Donald Trump offered a full-throated defense of Confederate monuments Thursday morning, after days of debate over his response to violence in Charlottesville.

In a news conference, President Trump said there were good people on both sides of the events in Charlottesville, which were sparked by a white nationalist rally to defend a Robert E. Lee statue. The rally was met with a counter-protest. Clashes between the sides turned violent at times.

Since the events in Charlottesville that left one dead and dozens injured, Confederate statues have become a flash point. Protesters have pulled down a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, and the mayor of Birmingham ordered a Confederate monument there covered by plywood while the city explored options for removal.

Alabama’s Attorney General has already filed suit in the Birmingham incident, since state law prevents the alteration or removal of monuments more than 40 years old.

President Trump followed up on earlier comments with these thoughts on Twitter: