Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said that removing Confederate statues is “just like” taking down a memorial for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
LePage was reportedly commenting on last weekend’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia when he made the comparison Thursday.
The Maine governor told WGAN-AM that he condemns “both sides” that demonstrated in Charlottesville recently.
“[They’re] equally as bad,” LePage said of white nationalist and far-left protesters, adding he finds both camps “disgusting.”
LePage described left-wing protesters seeking to discard Confederate monuments are ignorant of history and want to erase the past.
The outspoken Republican compared such individuals to “the Taliban in Afghanistan” in their desire to eliminate monuments.
LePage added he did not hear about the unrest in Charlottesville until Tuesday as he does not watch television or read newspapers.
White nationalists entered Charlottesville last weekend to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee there.
The situation turned increasingly violent as they clashed with counterprotesters opposing them Friday and Saturday.
One person died Saturday when a car drove into a crowd of people demonstrating against white nationalism.
Two Virginia State troopers were killed the same day when a helicopter crashed in an accident authorities linked to the Charlottesville turmoil.
LePage’s remarks echo President Trump’s, who said Tuesday that there is “blame on both sides” for the fracas there.
“I will tell you something,” Trump told reporters. “I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it.”
“And you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he added at Trump Tower in New York City. “And nobody wants to say that.”
“You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”
Trump's remarks have drawn widespread criticism for not seeming like a forceful condemnation of white nationalism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.