YORKTOWN, Va.—Hundreds of Americans of British descent rallied at the popular Riverwalk Landing here yesterday, chanting “Long live King George! Long Live the British Empire! Make America British again!” and demanding the erection of a statute of King George to commemorate the British heritage of the United States.
“Our past must not be denied!” yelled marchers, many of whom were dressed in red-coated British military garb from the Revolutionary War period and brandishing historic firearms. “Down with George Washington! Up with George William Frederick, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover!”
The marchers were met wth pro-independence counter-demonstrators, who taunted the marchers and, in some case, threw punches. “We won our independence!” some yelled. “Get over it!”
President Donald Trump, returning to the White House after a 17-day working vacation at his golf property in Bedminster, N.J., blamed agitators on “many sides” for the confrontation. “We have many British Americans who rightly feel their allegiance to the British commonwealth has been denied them,” he said. “The pro-independence movement won many battles but the British won many battles, too,” he said. “There are good people on both sides. You know, many pro-independence agitators went to the march spoiling for a fight. You know that as well as I do.”
Critics jumped on the president’s remarks as proof he harbors anti-democratic sympathies. “This just proves Trump is trying to turn his presidency into a monarchy,” said La’donte Jackson, a counter-demonstrator from Raleigh, N.C. “Look at his penthouse in New York. He wants to be king!”
Many members of Congress, including several key members of the president’s own party, joined in the criticism. “We won the war,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “That’s why we have statutes of George Washington and not statutes of George the Third in this country. The British lost. There are statutes of George the Third in England.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination last year, called on the president to denounce the pro-British marchers. “There should be no false equivalency here,” he said. “The pro-independece forces won the war. That’s why we’re called Americans. The president needs to step up and say that and tell the marchers to go home.”
Graham added that pro-American counter-marchers should not be criticized in the same breath as pro-British marchers. “We dumped the tee in Boston Harbor,” he said. “We didn’t steep the tea in boiling water and enjoy a cup with our British overlords. The counter-demonstrators are saying, in effect, that they are prepared to dump the tea in the harbor again. President Trump, tell the pro-British marchers to go home.”
Rallies to erect King George III statutes are planned for sites throughout the original 13 American colonies, including Boston, Concord, Mass., and Philadelphia.
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