The White House is seizing on a Washington, D.C., task force's recommendations that call for renaming or adding context to prominent monuments and buildings in the nation's capital, painting the report as an effort to destroy the country's heritage.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blasted D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserBowser declares October 2021 'LGBTQ History Month' in DC DC Council member plans to challenge Bowser for mayor Lobbying world MORE over the findings of District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions, a group she commissioned amid nationwide protests against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.
The task force released its initial findings on Tuesday, which included suggestions to "remove, relocate, or contextualize" the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, among others.
"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," McEnany said.
"President Donald J. Trump believes these places should be preserved, not torn down; respected, not hated; and passed on for generations to come," she added. "As long as President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE 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 task force's report is not binding, and the city has little control over what happens to monuments and buildings on federal land. Bowser tweeted that she looks forward to "reviewing and advancing" the group's recommendations.
The 24-page report calls for renaming Woodrow Wilson High School, Jefferson Middle School and other facilities named after historical figures who held racist or controversial views. The report urges the federal government to rename, relocate or add context to prominent statues, including one of Christopher Columbus, another of Benjamin Franklin and one of Andrew Jackson.
The Trump campaign highlighted tweets criticizing the report's findings. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere expressed disbelief at Bowser recognizing the report, asking if it was a "parody account." Vice President Pence tweeted out a photo of the Washington Monument.
Trump has in recent months pushed back against aspects of protests against racial injustice, decrying efforts to remove statues of controversial and racist figures as "cancel culture" and rebuffing calls to "defund the police." The president has expressed opposition to removing statues of Confederate leaders, arguing it would amount to an attack on the country's "heritage."