Biden cheers removal of Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville

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The White House Saturday cheered the long-awaited removal of a controversial statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that helped spark the infamous 2017 protest in Charlottesville, Va.

President Biden said through a spokesperson that he “welcomes” the removal of the Lee statue and a separate monument of Gen. Stonewall Jackson that were lightning rods for the deadly white nationalist rally.

“The president believes that monuments to Confederate leaders belong in museums, not in public places,” said Emilie Simons, a White House spokeswoman. “(He) welcomes the removal of the statues today.”

Charlottesville municipal workers took down both statues after the City Council voted to remove them last month.

The move came after a long court battle in which the Virginia Supreme Court recently overruled a lower-court ruling that the city was barred from removing the statues by the terms of their original installation during the Jim Crow era.

The original threat to remove the statues inspired the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017 in which a white nationalist protester drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman.

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