Politics

Biden: Government Should Protect Statues of Washington, Columbus

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he supports government protection of some statues, including those of George Washington, Americas first president.

Biden, in his first press conference in nearly three months, said institutions like Princeton University are free to decide whether to remove names from their school. Princeton removed the name of former President Woodrow Wilson last week.

Biden, a former vice president, paraphrased former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who told reporters in 2017: “There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.”

“The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves, or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and somebody who was in rebellion—committing treason, trying to take down a union that keeps slavery—I think theres a distinction there,” Biden told reporters.

“I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, etc., who strongly supported succession and maintenance of slavery, and going to war to do it, I think those statues belong in museums, they dont belong in public places.”

The government should protect non-Confederate statues, Biden suggested, saying people like Washington “had much broader views” even though some actions in their life were “distasteful.”

“For example, taking down or toppling a Christopher Columbus statue or a George Washington statue, or etc., I think that is something that the government has an opportunity and responsibility to keep from happening,” Biden, 77, said.

stomping the Christopher Columbus statue
People take turns stomping the Christopher Columbus statue after it was toppled in front of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on June 10, 2020. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP)

The former vice president and senator was speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, a short distance from the house hes spent most of time in since early March.

While Biden expressed support for protecting monuments of Washington and his ilk, he also said he understands why vandals are tearing down statues dedicated to Confederate figures.

“I think the elected officials where those statues are have a responsibility to move [them]. Put them in museums. Get them down. But dont expect … dont be surprised if someone pulls down the statue of Jefferson Davis,” he said.Read More From Source