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Half Of Voters Agrees With Trump's Defense Of Statues

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Fifty percent of Americans agree with President Donald Trump's opposition to the removal of Confederate statues from towns and cities, according to a poll released on Aug. 21.

Rasmussen's poll, conducted on Aug. 17 and 20, found that 50 percent agree with Trump's criticism of the removal of statues.

Thirty-seven percent disagreed with Trump's stance, while 12 percent said they were undecided.

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," Trump tweeted on Aug. 17.

The polling organization also asked participants whether they thought taking down Confederate monuments and statues would improve race relations. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said it would improve race relations, compared to 39 percent who thought it would be harmful. Meanwhile, 26 percent say it would have any impact.

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Although 50 percent of likely voters continue to back keeping Confederate statues, the percentage in favor of removing them appears to be rising. In May, Rasmussen found that 19 percent thought monuments that are out of line with current sentiments should be removed.

The University of Texas at Austin became the latest institution to remove its Confederate statues on Aug. 20. Workers took down three statues from their prominent positions on a grass lawn on campus, The Texas Tribune reports.

The statues were of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan. A statue of former Texas Governor Stephen Hogg is also to be removed.

The decision came just more than one week after violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, during protests by white supremacists and neo-Nazis against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a park in the city.

"We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus," university President Greg Fenves wrote in an email to the campus community. "As UT students return in the coming week, I look forward to welcoming them here for a new academic year with a recommitment to an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all."

The workers were guarded by police and carried out the removal behind fences.

The university said the three Confederate statues will be relocated to the Briscoe Center for American History.

On Aug. 21, the University of Houston announced it would rename one of its residences, which is currently called Calhoun Loft. Vice President John Calhoun was an outspoken defender of slavery. The university explained the decision by saying it had been taken "out of sensitivity to our diverse student community."

Sources: Rasmussen, Texas Tribune / Featured Image: Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Nicholas Atwood via Defense Video Imagery Distribution SystemKindpuash/Wikimedia Commons

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