A notorious statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, was tagged with graffiti on Thanksgiving night that took aim at President Donald Trump.
As WTVR reported, at some point in the evening hours on Thursday, someone spray-painted the words “Impeach Trump” and “This is Racist” onto the Confederate statue. The graffiti was covered with tarps and it is set to be removed on Monday, the report noted.
Police said they believe the person responsible for the graffiti may have tagged another Confederate monument, but did not give details on what the other graffiti said or where the other monument was located.
The Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville was the center of one of the most controversial moments in race relations in recent years, with hundreds of white supremacist groups traveling to the city for the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 after the city council had voted to remove the statue. There were a number of violent clashes between these groups and counter-protesters, ending with a man connected to a Neo-Nazi group driving into a crowd of people and killing one woman.
The city council’s decision to remove the statue was later challenged, and it was covered with a shroud for several months until a judge ruled that the shroud must be taken down.
This week’s graffiti seemed to make reference to the incident and to Donald Trump’s role in the aftermath. Immediately after the protest, Trump came under pressure to disavow the white supremacist groups but initially refused, claiming that the counterprotesters bore some responsibility and famously saying that there were “fine people on both sides.” Trump did end up condemning the white supremacist groups after coming under fire for his remarks.
The issue was raised again in April when former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his entrance to the Democratic primary with a video recalling Trump’s words.
Afterward, Trump was asked if he still believed there were “fine people on both sides” and responded by defending his remarks and praising Lee.
“If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly,” Trump said.
“And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals.”
The police in Charlottesville are asking anyone with information about the graffiti to contact Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.