New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio finally put an end to his statue-removal tribunal on Thursday, saying not a single statue will be removed from the city.
The tribunal’s dissolution is an indication that its creation–in the days following the racial violence at a rally in Charlottesville earlier this summer–was really an exercise in political positioning by the liberal mayor.
“I’m not going to pre-judge, because it’s not just about Columbus, or about folks who own slaves or confederate officers — it’s about everything,” de Blasio said Thursday.
The mayor’s mid-August call for a review of all “symbols of hate” sparked a firestorm of criticism from groups concerned that revered historical figures with imperfect characters could be targeted — such as Christopher Columbus.
Although the mayor launched the effort by suggesting that a downtown marker naming a Nazi sympathizer “will be one of the first we remove,” he has since walked back that statement.
“This commission may take down no statues, and of course they’re going to propose something to me, and then I have to go through a whole process,” he said on Fox 5 early Thursday — the same day someone splashed red paint on the statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the steps of the American Museum of National History.
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