Trump in holiday proclamation bemoans ‘radical activists’ undermining Columbus

President Trump on Monday bemoaned “radical activists” for their criticisms of Christopher Columbus in his holiday proclamation for Columbus Day. 

The president issued the proclamation on Friday but tweeted it out on Columbus Day. In the statement, Trump praises the Italian explorer for opening “a new chapter in world history” more than 500 years ago and representing a “legendary figure” for the country’s 17 million Italian Americans.

Later in the proclamation, Trump condemns the “radical activists” who “have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy.”

“These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions,” he said. “Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister.”

The president touted his executive order from June that encouraged the Justice Department to prosecute those who damage or vandalize a federal monument, memorial or statue. The order came amid protests against racial injustice, when some demonstrators toppled and damaged statues of historical figures like Columbus because of their ties to slavery or the mistreatment of Indigenous people.

More than a dozen states and over a hundred cities now recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. Trump did not mention Indigenous Peoples Day in his tweet or proclamation.

But the president pointed to another executive order of his that bans racial discrimination training in federal workplaces, saying “many of” the concepts from the training “are grounded in the same type of revisionist history that is trying to erase Christopher Columbus from our national heritage.”

“Together, we must safeguard our history and stop this new wave of iconoclasm by standing against those who spread hate and division,” he said.

Tags Columbus Day Donald Trump Executive Order holiday proclamation Indigenous people indigenous peoples day

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