Confederate statue vandalized with profanity against Trump

In this Sept. 16, 2017 file photo, State Police keep a small group of Confederate protesters separated from counter demonstrators in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. The Confederate statue in Charlottesville, that became a rallying point for white nationalists, was found vandalized Wednesday, July 24, 2019, with an expletive against President Donald Trump.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, that became a rallying point for white nationalists was found vandalized Wednesday with an expletive against President Donald Trump.

The profanity was graffitied on the base of the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in white paint, TV station WVIR reported. Blue paint was also splattered around the base, according to the station.

The city’s Parks and Recreation department was notified to clean the statue, police spokesman Tyler Hawn said.

Charlottesville, like other cities around the U.S., has been wrestling for years with what to do with Confederate monuments in its public spaces.

White nationalists seized on a city plan to remove the statue and flocked there in 2017 for a rally. Hundreds of others showed up to protest the racists, and the event descended into violence. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old activist and paralegal, was killed and dozens more were injured when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd.

A lawsuit over the statue-removal plan is ongoing and the figure of Lee on horseback has remained in place. The statue has been vandalized several times before.