Nearly half of Americans disapprove of the removal of the infamous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to a new poll by YouGov.
Forty-eight percent of Americans polled either strongly or somewhat disapprove of the removal of the statue that was at the center of violence in Charlottesville last weekend, where a member of a white supremacist group drove his car through a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19. Only 30 percent approve of removal. Twenty-two percent expressed no opinion.
On Monday, President Trump faced criticism after he went off topic on a press conference focused on infrastructure and equated people protesting racism with white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
His controversial statements, and the violence in Charlottesville, prompted Baltimore to take down all four of its Confederate statues in the middle of the night and have pushed other cities to question the presence of their Confederacy-linked statues.
Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to defend his position on the removal of Confederate statues.
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Breaking down the YouGov poll by race shows a major difference in opinions between black and white respondents — with 33 percent of black people strongly agreeing with the statue removal and 40 percent of white people strongly disagreeing.
This conversation is unlikely to abate in the coming weeks as nearly 700 Confederate statues and monuments still exist both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the percentage of black respondents who strongly agree.