by WorldTribune Staff, September 2, 2020
The federal government should “remove, relocate or contextualize” the Washington Monument and several other memorials and statues in the nation’s capital, according to a report from a committee formed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.[Update: After outcry from the White House and members of Congress, the committee scrubbed the words “remove and relocate” from the report, which now says the committee seeks “contextualizing, not removing” the monuments and statues.]
Bowser said she formed the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions, or “DC FACES” committee in July, to study assets in D.C. named after individuals to “ensure these individuals reflect contemporary D.C. values,” according to the report which was posted on the D.C. government web site.
The mayor tasked the committee with making recommendations if a namesake is “inconsistent with D.C. values and in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism.”
The committee focused on “key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Right Act.”
Using the mayor’s position on the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, the report recommended the federal government remove, relocate, or contextualize the following assets:
1. Christopher Columbus – Columbus Fountain (federal)
2. Benjamin Franklin – Benjamin Franklin Statue (federal)
3. Andrew Jackson – Andrew Jackson Statue (federal)
4. Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson Memorial (federal)
5. George Mason – George Mason Memorial (federal)
6. Francis Griffith Newlands – Newlands Memorial Fountain (federal)
7. Albert Pike – Albert Pike Statue (federal)
8. George Washington – Washington Monument, George Washington Statue (federal)
The White House issued a statement on Sept. 1 saying the efforts to remove or relocate the monuments “will go absolutely nowhere.”
“By publishing a plan that recommends potentially removing the Washington Monument, Christopher Columbus Statue, Andrew Jackson Statue, and Jefferson Memorial — among many other ludicrous recommendations — the radically liberal mayor of Washington, D.C., is repeating the same left-wing narrative used to incite dangerous riots: demolishing our history and destroying our great heritage. Our Nation’s capital is rightly filled with countless markers, memorials, and statues to honor and respect the men and women who built this country,” the statement said.
“President Donald J. Trump believes these places should be preserved, not torn down; respected, not hated; and passed on for generations to come. As long as President Trump is in the White House, the mayor’s irresponsible recommendations will go absolutely nowhere, and as the mayor of our Nation’s capital city — a city that belongs to the American people — she ought to be ashamed for even suggesting them for consideration,” the statement added.
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, rebuked the committee’s recommendations.
“Hey D.C. — they’re not your monuments to rename or remove. They’re America’s monuments,” Cotton tweeted.
The committee also recommended renaming a number of other assets, including: public schools; residential buildings and campuses; community and recreational centers; parks, fields and playgrounds; government buildings; streets, roads and bridges; landmarks, and commemorative works; and statues and memorials.
“In all instances we believe strongly that all District of Columbia owned public spaces, facilities and commemorative works should only honor those individuals who exemplified those values such as equity, opportunity and diversity that D.C. residents hold dear,” the committee said.