The idea that statues are an essential part of history is nonsense and Trump shouldn't be peddling that lie in order to preserve White supremacy.
In an interview with Fox News, United States President Donald Trump claimed that Black people and others tearing down statues of Confederate icons should learn the history behind the "greatest country on Earth," America. Of course, he didn't really care that those tearing down the statues knew this "great" nation's history too well, which is why they were pulling them down in the first place. Instead of letting the President's statements go completely unnoticed, folks on Twitter decided to rally against them online, suggesting that it would be best if Trump opened a History textbook every once in a while.
"We should learn from the history," the President claimed. "My message is that we have a great country, we have the greatest country on Earth. 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." Now, it's not quite obvious if Trump was referring to a particular part of history, such as when Africans enslaved by White colonizers freed themselves through, yes, violent means... Or when Martin Luther King Jr. took to the streets in protest... You get the point. Maybe Trump's the one who should be taking some of his own advice.
He continued, "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." As it turned out, he had quite the soft spot for George Washington, the country's first President. "You have to understand history, and our culture, and so many other aspects," he urged, as if he were a broken record. "But you can't take down George Washington." Then, referring to those who took down or wanted to take down statues of Lincoln, Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant, he stated, "Here is the other problem that I have — a lot of these people don't even know what they are taking down... I think many of the people that are knocking down the statues don't even have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who it is when they knocked down."
Ask yourself this, Mr. Trump. If the anti-racism protestors didn't have an idea of who they were tearing down, why have so many statues dedicated to freedom fighters and icons of social justice gone untampered? In all likelihood, they understand this history with far too much nuance to let the statues stand. If you had a trickle of the same knowledge, you probably wouldn't be making statements like that. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one enraged by his comments. One Twitter use wrote, "I think they already have a better understanding of history than Trump is ever likely to have." Another added, "I know my history. I also know this country’s history. It’s dark and ugly. Filled with slavery, abuse, colonization, imperialism, murder. Segregation. You acting like it doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away." Finally, one user pointed out, "I don't remember ever learning history from a statue...taking down statues of terrible people does not mean we shouldn't still learn from the mistakes of our past."