Maine Gov. says removing Confederate statues like taking down 9/11 memorial

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday that he condemns "both sides" of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last weekend and suggested that taking down Confederate statues is the equivalent of taking down a 9/11 memorial.

"I condemn both sides. I think they're disgusting -- both sides. They went there with the intent of inciting violence," the Republican said in a radio interview on WGAN, a local station. "There's no place for either of these groups in this country."

LePage said that people calling for the elimination of Confederate monuments and statues are "trying to erase history."

"How can future generations learn if we're going to erase history?" he said. "Whether we like it or not, this is what our history is. To me, it's like going to New York City right now and taking down the monument of those who perished in 9/11. It will come to that."

LePage said that he receives letters every day saying he supports the KKK, but he said, "I have been against the KKK before you knew they existed."

He added that he didn't find out about the terror attack and violence in Charlottesville last weekend until Tuesday because he said, "I don't watch TV and I don't read newspapers."

President Trump, meanwhile, has been criticized for defending Charlottesville rally attendees during a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday in which he reiterated his comment from Saturday that there was blame "on both sides."

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.