A Washington, DC committee formed by the mayor has recommended changing the names of schools and government buildings and has even called for the federal government to “remove, relocate or contextualize” a group of federal memorials and monuments, including the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Benjamin Franklin Statue.
The DCFaces report found that the Working Group’s research showed that more than 70 percent of the monuments named in the District are named for white men, many of whom were not District residents.
“I look forward to reviewing and advancing their recommendations,” Mayor Muriel Bowser posted to Twitter.
Among the federal statues and memorials listed are:
1. Christopher Columbus – Columbus Fountain
2. Benjamin Franklin – Benjamin Franklin Statute
3. Andrew Jackson – Andrew Jackson Statue
4. Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson Memorial
5. George Mason – George Mason Memorial
6. Francis Griffith Newlands – Newlands Memorial Fountain
7. Albert Pike – Albert Pike Statute
8. George Washington – Washington Monument, George Washington Statute
Reaction from Republicans was swift.
“Hey D.C.—they’re not your monuments to rename or remove,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). “They’re America’s monuments.”
Cotton also tweeted video of Black Lives Matter protestors harassing diners at a DC restaurant, calling on the mayor to focus on protecting citizens, not removing monuments.
“Spoiler alert: @MayorBowser’s report recommends: ‘removing, relocating, or contextualizing’ the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, & Benjamin Franklin statue to name a few… I’m not even sure what relocating the Washington Monument would entail,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah wrote on Twitter.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tweeted that no changes were going to happen as long as he was in office.
“Not on my watch. Never going to happen,” he tweeted.
The White House also responded to the committee’s report.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
“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. 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,” McEnany concluded.
The committee’s leaders wrote in a letter along with the report, “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 DC residents hold dear.”
The committee said there were five factors in its conclusions: did the person participate in slavery, was the person involved in systemic racism, did the person support oppression, was the person involved in a supremacist agenda, and most notably, did the person violate the city’s current human rights law.