RICHMOND — Former President Donald Trump has strongly criticized removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered Confederate monument of Lee on a horse removed on Wednesday, Sept. 8.
“Finally — Virginia and Monument Avenue have moved beyond celebrating the Confederate insurrection. We can all look forward to seeing Virginia’s history remembered in a way that reflects who we are in the 21st century,” said Northam, a Democrat.
The Lee statue was erected in 1890. It also contains a time capsule which included a picture of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin and Confederate coins.
That is being replaced by a new one by the state of Virginia that includes an expired vial of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control vaccination card, a Black Lives Matter sticker, an LGBTQ pride pin and a photo of Virginia State Police deployed to Washington D.C. as part of the large military and security buildup after the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Trump hammered the removal of the Confederate statue in Richmond and tied the issue to President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan.
“Our culture is being destroyed and our history and heritage, both good and bad, are being extinguished by the Radical Left, and we can’t let that happen! If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago,” Trump said in a statement.
Trump also touted Lee’s significance and that he could have propelled a victory for the South.
“Robert E. Lee is considered by many Generals to be the greatest strategist of them all. President Lincoln wanted him to command the North, in which case the war would have been over in one day. Robert E. Lee instead chose the other side because of his great love of Virginia, and except for Gettysburg, would have won the war. He should be remembered as perhaps the greatest unifying force after the war was over, ardent in his resolve to bring the North and South together through many means of reconciliation and imploring his soldiers to do their duty in becoming good citizens of this country,” Trump said.
Backers of removing Confederate statues say they are symbols of slavery and white supremacy.
“This has a long time coming, part of the healing process for Virginia to move forward, to embrace diversity, to be a welcoming state, to be inclusive,” said Northam.
The removal of the Lee statue and Trump’s criticism comes as activists continue to press for removal of the Talbot Boys Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn in Easton.
The statue commemorates local residents who fought for the Confederacy.
A federal lawsuit has been filed by the ACLU and NAACP to have the Talbot Boys monument removed from the Talbot County Courthouse lawn.
The Talbot County Council has resisted calls for removal. of the Confederate monument.