- President Donald Trump tweeted in support of Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie, saying he could “save our great statues/heritage!”
- It was a reference to Confederate monuments.
- Virginia was home to the Charlottesville rallies in August, which turned violent and included a white supremacist running over and killing a counterprotester with his car.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that, should he win, Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie “might even save our great statues/heritage!”
It was a clear reference to the controversy over the removal of monuments to the Confederacy and its prominent members.
“Ed Gillespie will turn the really bad Virginia economy #’s around, and fast,” Trump tweeted. “Strong on crime, he might even save our great statues/heritage!”
Gillespie has targeted his opponent, Democratic nominee Ralph Northam, for his opposition to Confederate monuments, and the issue has become one of the central issues of the campaign.
Virginia was home to the violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville this August. The rally was planned as a protest to the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the University of Virginia’s campus. The white nationalists were met with counterprotesters, one of whom was mowed down by a white supremacist when he rammed his car into a crowd of people, running her over.
Trump had gone back and forth in his response to the violence, which became the biggest story in the country.
In a news conference days after the counterprotester, Heather Heyer, was killed, Trump said there was blame “on both sides.”
“And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either,” he said, adding that “you had some very bad people” marching with neo-Nazis, “but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”
“You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name,” he continued, adding, “You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”