“Ridiculous, don’t do it!” Trump tweeted on Monday. His post included a Washington Times article which quoted NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as saying it is the “right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
Ridiculous, don’t do it! https://t.co/VYez8p9AJh
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
The statue, placed at the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), is due to be removed by request of the museum itself and amid growing outrage over statues that Black Lives Matter protesters see as glorifying the legacy of racism.
Unveiled in 1940, the bronze statue features the 26th American president sitting on a horse and flanked by a Native American and an African American. As AMNH puts it, the monument “communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”
The New York mayor ordered the removal of a statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by a Native American man and an African man, arguing it feeds into racial stereotypes.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Sunday.
De Blasio noted that the city authorities sided with the museum, calling the idea to get rid of the “problematic” statue, “the right decision” at the “right time.” The NYC mayor was apparently referring to the Black Lives Matter protests, which have seen activists taking out their anger on statues they see as celebrating the legacy of racism.
The museum said that it does not plan to ‘cancel’ Roosevelt altogether. After becoming president in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, known as Teddy, championed the nation’s conservationist efforts, providing federal protection for over 230 million acres of public land. While his statue will be removed, the museum will seek to honor his legacy by naming one of the halls after him, the museum’s president, Ellen Futter, told the Times.
The statue’s looming removal has been backed by the 26th president’s descendant, Theodore Roosevelt IV, who heaped scorn on the statue, which was unveiled in 1940, saying it does not reflect his ancestor’s values.
The announcement has triggered pushback as well as praise online.
Some cried foul over the move, noting that there are other historical figures far more deserving of the ‘honor’ of being knocked off their pedestals.
Others suggested that by removing the Roosevelt statue, the NYC authorities are taking a step down a slippery slope.
“We have officially entered French Revolution territory. If the radical left mob takes full power the heads of statues will be replaced with the careers of those who dare counter them,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country, said.
While the majority of early ‘victims’ of the protesters’ holy war on historical monuments were Confederate generals, the crusade has recently expanded to include figures such as the 18th US president, Ulysses S. Grant, who led the northern Union soldiers in the American Civil War and helped bring an end to slavery.
The Grant statue was toppled in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Juneteenth along with that of Francis Scott Key, the lyricist behind ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.
Both sculptures were defaced with graffiti, denouncing the men as “slave owners.” While that was true for Key, who owned multiple slaves, many netizens were baffled over the treatment of Grant. While the general did own one slave who he was given as a ‘gift’, he freed him shortly afterwards.