The White House is trying to put on a show of unity in light of a new controversy over the removal of a plaque at the University of Virginia, but there are questions as to who exactly is to blame for what happened on Saturday.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that President Donald Trump “reacted to the news that a plaque in honor of the victims of the shooting at the UVA fraternity house was removed from the Oval Office.”
She did not say who removed the plaque or if it was the university.
“President Trump took action to remove the plaque,” Sanders told reporters at the White House briefing.
“He’s not happy about that.”
Sanders said that the president has called for an investigation into the removal.
The president’s decision to remove a plaque honoring the victims at UVA comes just days after a video surfaced of Trump telling UVA students to “f— off” during a protest over the university’s handling of the incident.
Sanders said the president believes that the removal is “inappropriate” but that the White, House Office of Student Affairs (OSHA) has been in contact with the university to “get to the bottom of it.”
Sanders did not provide any details about the inquiry, saying only that the OSHA office has been “in contact with” the university.
“The president believes the removal, which is in violation of OSHA’s procedures, was not appropriate,” Sanders said.
“The president is disappointed that this occurred.”
Sanders was asked about reports that the university has been contacted by federal investigators to determine what steps it could take to reinstate the plaque.
She said the university “has not contacted any federal authorities” and that “we do not know the outcome of the investigation.”
Sanders added that the investigation is ongoing, and that OSHA “does not comment on ongoing investigations.”
Sanders also said that “the White House has spoken to the President about the situation.”
She said that Trump has called on the OSA to take the matter “very seriously.”
Sanders emphasized that the administration does not have any plans to remove or rename the plaque, which has a plaque dedicated to the “Victims of the U.S. Military Assault on Charlottesville” on the side.
Sanders also did not comment about a request from a group of UVA administrators to replace the plaque with a plaque on which “the President is proud to have served.”
Sanders, however, defended Trump’s actions on Twitter Tuesday night.
She wrote: “The president has been clear in his statements that the UUA Board of Trustees is not responsible for this.
He has also been clear that the University Board of Visitors and UVA leadership are responsible for making that decision.”