Donald Trump has said that black people who want statues of slave owners and Confederate figures removing should ‘learn from the history’, adding that if they did not they would risk ‘going to go back to it sometime’.
With calls once again mounting to remove statues of Confederate figures, and questions being asked about a range of memorials, Trump was asked on Sunday night in a Fox News interview how he felt.
In particular, he was asked what his message was to black Americans contemplating statues of the slave-owning founders of the country.
‘My message is that we have a great country, we have the greatest country on Earth,’ he replied.
Donald Trump on Sunday evening discussed statues of slave holders and Confederate leaders
‘We have a heritage, we have a history and we should learn from the history, and if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again. You will go right back to it.
‘You have to learn.
‘Think of it, you take away that whole era and you’re going to go back to it sometime. People won’t know about it. They’re going to forget about it. It’s okay.’
Trump said that he had been upset about questioning of George Washington’s legacy.
‘You have to understand history, and our culture, and so many other aspects,’ he said.
‘But you can’t take down George Washington.
Trump told Brian Kilmeade that the U.S. has ‘a great history’ that should not be forgotten
He said that some people want to take down Lincoln, Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant.
‘Here is the other problem that I have — a lot of these people don’t even know what they are taking down,’ he said.
‘I see what’s happening on television, and they are ripping down things they have no idea what they are ripping down, but they started off with the Confederates and now go to Ulysses Grant so what is that all about?’
He said he was open to the idea of erecting new statues ‘to great people; people that have done something.’
He added: ‘But you don’t want to take away our heritage and history and the beauty, in many cases, the beauty, the artistic beauty.
‘Some of the sculptures and some of this work is some of the great — you can go to France, you can go anywhere in the world and you will never see more magnificent work.
‘And that’s a factor. It’s not the biggest factor but it’s a factor.
A statue of Christopher Columbus is in the water at Byrd Park in Richmond on June 9
Trump has made protecting statues a high-profile policy priority, repeatedly tweeting his anger at attempts to remove the monuments.
On Friday he signed an executive order protecting the statues, and on Saturday he tweeted 15 ‘wanted’ posters for those involved in efforts last week to topple Andrew Jackson’s bronze likeness outside the White House.
Jackson, the seventh president, was a populist outsider and oversaw the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands to new territory west of the Mississippi. He remains a personal hero of Trump’s.