Confederate statues come down, Confederate memorials covered up and public debates over Confederate symbols rage across the country in the wake of deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. (Aug. 16)
WASHINGTON â€“ Vice President Pence on Tuesday argued against pulling down Confederate monuments, calling that an attempt to â€œerase parts of our history just in the name of some contemporary political cause.â€
â€œRather than tearing down monuments that have graced our cities all across this country for years, we ought to have been building more monuments,â€ Pence told Fox Friends. â€œWe ought to be celebrating the men and women who’ve helped our nation move toward a more perfect union and tell the whole story of America.â€
Statues honoring prominent Civil War generals and other figures have become a flashpoint across the country in light of the white supremacist rally and ensuing violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Charlottesville, Baltimore and other cities have taken down or are considering removing statutes and monuments connected with the Confederacy. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, announced last week he intends to file legislation to have such statues removed from the Capitol.
President Trump has defended the statues, calling them â€œbeautifulâ€ and saying they reflect the countryâ€™s history and culture.
Asked by Foxâ€™s Ainsley Earhardt if the Confederate monuments at the Capitol should be removed, Pence said â€œitâ€™s important that we remember our past and build on the progress that we have made.â€
While Pence appeared on Fox, and on NBCâ€™s TodayÂ show to talk about the administrationâ€™s Afghanistan strategy Trump announced Monday, he continues to be asked to defend Trumpâ€™s controversial comments about the Charlottesville rally.
Trump claimed â€œboth sides” were at fault for the violence, even after one alleged white nationalist was charged with murder after ramming his car into a crowd of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Trump also said there were “some fine people” among both the white nationalists and the left-wing counter protesters.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is close to Pence, posted a statement on Facebook Monday saying â€œthere are no sides.â€
â€œThere is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis,â€ Ryan, R-Wisc. wrote.
Pence disputes that Trump made a moral equivalency. But he did not answer NBCâ€™s Matt Lauerâ€™s question of whether Trumpâ€™s comment about there being fine people on both sides offended him.
Noting that top GOP, business and military leaders have rebuked Trump, Lauer asked Pence if heâ€™s putting loyalty to the president â€œabove and in front of whatâ€™s in your heart and your gut.â€
Pence replied that he knows whatâ€™s in the presidentâ€™s heart.
â€œHe condemned the hate and the bigotry that was evidenced (in Charlottesville),â€ Pence said. â€œAnd weâ€™ll continue to do that.â€