After a years-long campaign and incessant litigation, the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee came down from its pedestal in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday.
As the top General for the Confederate army, Lee fought for the confederacy's interests, the chief of which was the continued enslavement of Black Americans. In the decades since the Civil War, Lee became a hero of white supremacists in the Jim Crow South and onward for his efforts to ensure a confederate victory, fighting for states' supposed rights to treat people as property.
Subsequently, protests for the removal of similar statues featuring Lee have been met with intimidation and counter-protests by the likes of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, most infamously at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
That's why it may not come as a surprise that—as Lee's likeness was cut into pieces and removed from its pedestal—another hero to countless white supremacists across the nation spoke out.
In a statement, former President Donald Trump railed against the statue's removal, before embarking on a deranged fantasy of Lee leading troops in Afghanistan.
Trump, in a lengthy statement, decries the removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue, calling it "magnificent." "… https://t.co/oWzPwwmC1o— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender) 1631140829.0
Trump wrote in part:
"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. What an embarrassment we are suffering because we didn't have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!"
It's important to note that Lee's statue was a monument, not a historical exhibit, so it's unclear how its removal amounts to the destruction of "our" history and heritage, as Trump claims.
Some suggested Trump was defending Lee because of how much the two have in common.
I guess Trump & Robert E. Lee both know how it feels to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of pro-democracy f… https://t.co/uDdal4czc6— Conor Lamb (@Conor Lamb) 1631142714.0
The most famous loser in American history celebrating the second-most famous loser in American history. https://t.co/3qnRWtqK3p— Ken Tremendous (@Ken Tremendous) 1631145504.0
But Lee isn't famous for winning wars, as others pointed out.
Also Trump: “I like people who weren’t captured.” Lee surrendered an army of nearly 28,000 at Appomattox Court House https://t.co/9SuXKIFTwi— Devlin Barrett (@Devlin Barrett) 1631151280.0
ah yes, robert e. lee, noted war winner https://t.co/xxsZ77RPmZ— hannah gais (@hannah gais) 1631142377.0
Yes I’m sure Robert E. Lee could have prevented a bloody multi-year stalemate from becoming a humiliating defeat. https://t.co/UupKKfr4nQ— Seth Masket (@Seth Masket) 1631141402.0
Some saw the statement as a grim reminder of Trump's character.
This Trump statement is a perfect monument to his imbecility, ignorance and poor taste. Lee is gone. Washington and… https://t.co/mlHyrJlx8s— Steve Schmidt (@Steve Schmidt) 1631153199.0
So, he's going to run in 2024 as a supporter of the confederacy. Actually not surprised at this point. Not surpris… https://t.co/KyRsXhrDKE— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1631149915.0
You can’t make this up. Not only did this fetid, overstuffed purée of guano not remember who surrendered to whom… https://t.co/1R892kKW9c— Henry Schulman (@Henry Schulman) 1631144238.0