Sen. Warner visits Newport News, talks Confederate monuments

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Dealing with removing Confederate monuments like the one in Charlottesville, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) says it should be up to the locality.

“The issue of the monument is going to have to be decided on a local basis, and I think each community is going to have to have a process and have all voices heard and it’s going to be a challenging discussion in a lot of placed and it is long overdue,” Warner said.

On the protest and counter-protest, and the violence that followed the Charlottesville tragedy, Senator Warner admits the Virginia state code that allows a locality to put up a Confederate monument — but cannot then take it down — will likely have to be amended in the General Assembly.

“I think that is accurate, but I would hope if a local community, after an appropriate process, thought statues should be moved to another location, I hope the General Assembly would work with that community.”

Looking back, Senator Warner thinks the only good thing that came from Charlottesville was unity against the foe.

“In some strange way, President Trump being so off the mark provided a whole lot of us — particularly in politics — a way to come together in opposition to the president and his characterization of what happened Saturday.”

WAVY’s Andy Fox asked Warner about Friday night, when the protesters showed up with tiki torches, the images of that conjuring up Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and the violence that followed Friday night — Should Virginia leaders, beginning with the governor, have called on the Saturday protest to be canceled due to safety concerns and the welfare of the Commonwealth?

“I wasn’t there Friday, I’m not going to second guess,” Warner said.

10 On Your Side challenged that and asked: What would he have done? He answered, “When those protesters, my understanding, surrounded an interfaith service going on, I wonder whether they crossed the line between what is free speech, and intimidating actions that are just plain inappropriate.”