Responding to increasing calls to remove statues dedicated to soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War, President Trump asked whether statues honoring Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are next.
During a combative exchange with members of the White House press corps, Trump pointed out that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners, and protesters could argue any monuments to them should be removed next.
The exchange came after CNN's Jim Acosta said Trump was wrong to say there is "blame on both sides" for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
"So will George Washington now lose his status?" Trump asked rhetorically.
"Are we going to take down statues to George Washington?" he asked reporters. "How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson?"
Acosta could be heard in the background saying he likes Jefferson.
"You like him -- good," Trump replied. "Are we going to take down his statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Sir, you know what? It's fine. You're changing history. You are changing history and culture."
Trump again condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists during Tuesday's press conference.
Such hate groups, he said, "should be condemned totally."