Gillespie Fully Supports Keeping Confederate Statues

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Julia Nista General Assignment Reporter
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Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, stated that he supports keeping Confederate monuments at the Virginia Governor Debate in McLean, Va. Tuesday night.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate, stated that he personally believes in their removal, but that it should be left to local governments.

The question comes on the heels of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists and Antifa clashed at a rally in support of a statue memorializing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed after a white nationalist drove his car into a group of people protesting the rally.

When asked by moderator and NBC host Chuck Todd on whether or not the display of Confederate statues endorses the meaning of the statues, Gillespie stated, “But our history is our history. And I believe that we need to educate about it, and that we need to teach about it.”

“And so my view is that — the statues should remain, and we should place them in historical context so that people can learn,” Gillespie continued. The Republican candidate is sticking with his position, which stems from his primary battle against Corey Stewart, a former Trump campaign aide who made defending Confederate statues a top priority.

Northam responded to the question by saying, “Personally, I would think that the statues would be better placed in museums with certainly [sic] historical context. But I am leavin’ that up to the localities, just as I left it up to the board of visitors — in Lexington — at V.M.I., where I went to — to school.”

The Democratic candidate had previously made similar statements in regard to statues memorializing the Confederacy, including that of Stonewall Jackson, at his alma mater, Virginia Military Institute.

A majority of Americans support keeping Confederate statues as a reminder of Civil War history, with 62 percent saying they support keeping the statues.