US President Donald Trump has denounced the removal of “beautiful” Confederate statues amid a heated national debate about US race relations.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he tweeted.
“You can’t change history, but you can learn from it,” he continued.
Mr Trump drew outrage by defending organisers of a white supremacist rally that left a woman dead and dozens hurt.
The rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, supported by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, was in protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.
It turned deadly when a driver ploughed into a crowd of counter protesters, inflicting fatal injuries on Heather Heyer.
“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Mr Trump continued in a series of tweets on Thursday.
“The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
His comments came after a week of turmoil over his response to the violent clashes in the small Virginia town.
Mr Trump was criticised for blaming both sides for the violence, but belatedly condemned the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups on Monday.
But during a heated news conference on Tuesday he backtracked and again blamed left-wing counter-protesters for the incident, too.