President Donald Trump has added his opinion to the Christopher Columbus statue controversy in New York City. Regarding those who want to take down the statue of the heroic navigator, the President said:
“We believe we should preserve our history, not tear it down. Now they are even trying to destroy statues of Christopher Columbus. What’s next? Has to be stopped, it’s heritage.”
His remarks came at the Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club gathering. Calls for Columbus statues to be torn down have flared up around the country. The Columbus controversy has been most prominent in New York City, where a 76-foot tall statue of the Italian explorer rises over Columbus Circle. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a 90-day review of all the statues in the city.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called on the city to include the iconic Columbus statue in that review, saying “There are still to this day conversations happening because of the monuments, other Columbus statues, being talked about. I would want the commission to look at that statue as well.”
Mayor de Blasio has been quiet on whether he would tear down the Columbus statue, saying he will wait until the review is finished to comment. The debate over Columbus was also interjected into the New York City mayoral race, with de Blasio’s Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis calling on the statue to remain in Columbus Circle.