State leaders who aren't stopping protesters from toppling or vandalizing statues and memorials are "weak" for allowing the damages to happen, according to President Donald Trump, and he doesn't like that the monuments are being destroyed.
"I don't like anything that's going on," Trump told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, according to a clip played on "Fox and Friends" from a larger interview and tour of the White House that will be aired this coming Sunday. "Federal, I have stopped ... hey, it's going over a little a bit around the world now. They want to remove the statue of Gandhi. All he wanted was peace. They want to take down Ulysses S. Grant. He's the one that stopped the Confederates, right? He was a great general."
Trump's interview was held just hours before protesters tried to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson in nearby Lafayette Square. In a separate interview, he also said he's planning an executive order to force cities to guard their monuments.
"You have to understand history and you have to understand the culture and so many other aspects of our country," said Trump. "People can study that and they can hate it and let's all hate it. But you can't take down George Washington's statue and half of our country is named after Washington. We have to remember the heritage that the culture of our country."
In addition, some of the statues that are under attack are "magnificent pieces of art," Trump said. "Have you ever seen an area where a statue was removed and you look at the area, and they put blacktop over the top, put asphalt over the top, and that was the end and it was center of the town or a village? And now the statue is gone and the whole village is like a different place."
Trump added that "a lot of these people" don't know what they're bringing down.
"They would knock down [Abraham] Lincoln," he said. "There is a group that wants to take down Lincoln. They haven't figured out exactly why yet. George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. I have stopped them twice now from going over to the Jefferson Memorial. If I weren't president, they would have knocked out ... if a guy like [Joe] Biden was president, they would knock down the Jefferson Memorial. Not going to happen."
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