BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump is responding to questions about his competence and moral leadership by defending Confederate monuments and lashing out at his critics.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump bemoaned rising efforts to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederates as an attack on America's "history and culture."

He also berated those who have denounced his initially slow and then ultimately combative comments on the racial violence at a white supremacist rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump's unpredictable and provocative behavior is wearing on his Republican allies. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee says the president hasn't shown the stability or some of the competence needed for dealing with a crisis. Another Republican senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, says Trump's moral authority has been compromised.

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