COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin came down hard on President Donald Trump on Tuesday night following the president's press conference which blamed "both sides" for the violence that ended with the death of one woman and 19 others injured at a white supremacist rally in Virginia.
Benjamin, appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, harshly criticized President Trump's response to the rally.
"We are greater than the sum total of our parts," Benjamin said. "And we need a leader that's going to speak to that. If he can't do that, then he ought not to be President of the United States of America."
Benjamin also discussed the removal of Confederate monuments that dot the landscape of the State House grounds.
"There are some statues on our state capital that I find wholly offensive," Benjamin said. "Very few of them actually have to do with the Civil War. Several of them have to do with the period post-Reconstruction in which they were lead by the reigns of terror lead by the Ku Klux Klan and others like 'Pitchfork' Ben Tillman."
Still, Benjamin singled out one statue in particular he'd like to see taken down.
"The most offensive statue I find on our state capital wasn't a soldier," Benjamin said. "It was J. Marion Sims, who is considered to the be the father of modern obstetrics and gynecology who tortured slave women and children for years as he developed his treatments for gynecology. There's a statue of him here, Montgomery, Alabama, and New York City. They need to come down at some point."
Confederate monuments around the country are under increasing scrutiny following the attack in Charlottesville that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured over a dozen others.
White supremacists rallied in support of a Robert E. Lee statue before violence spilled out into the streets.