Two days after Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African American worshipers at the historically black Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. Pictures of Roof holding Confederate flags soon surfaced — and so, too, did calls from Democratic and Republican politicians to remove the flag and other Confederate symbols from government property.

Trump was one of those politicians. Within a week of the shooting, Trump came out in favor of taking the Confederate flag down from South Carolina’s Capitol, adding, “I think they should put it in the museum and let it go.” Politico summarized his position: “Trump to Confederate flag: You’re fired!”

Of course, Trump took a much different position on Confederate symbols this week. He described removing Confederate statues as “changing history … changing culture.” He defended marchers in a white supremacist rally that turned violent, saying they were protesting the removal of “a very, very important statue.” And, according to a White House source, he “expressed sympathy with nonviolent protesters who he said were defending their ‘heritage.’ ”

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