The White House on Tuesday criticized the mayor of Washington, D.C., for publishing a new report that recommends the federal government consider removing or relocating the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument and multiple other historical properties.
The 23-page report was released by a working group assembled by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and was posted on the mayor’s website. Bowser, a Democrat, put the working group together in July and charged it with reviewing the legacy of namesakes properties to “determine if the individual, in an individual capacity or as part of a group, participated in the oppression of African Americans and/or other communities of color, or contributed to the nation’s history of systemic racism and other biases.”
The report recommends the federal government “remove, relocate, or contextualize” eight statues or memorials, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. Others include statues or memorials of Andrew Jackson, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, Albert Pike, Christopher Columbus and Francis Griffith Newlands.
The report also recommends the city rename 21 public schools, including ones named after Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, Zachary Taylor, Francis Scott Key, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson.
The group was dubbed the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions Working Group (DCFACES). The report noted that 70 percent of “assets” in D.C. “are named for white men, many of whom were not District residents.”
“Priority should be placed on ensuring future assets, especially and including those recommended for renaming by this Working Group, include more women, people of color and LGBTQ Washingtonians,” the report said.
Bowser thanked the working group and said the report’s recommendations “will guide us as we move forward in advancing these shared DC values.”
“Washington, DC is a city driven by inclusivity and diversity – these values are at the core of who we are and what we fight for,” Bowser said. “We are also a city united by the idea that we can always do better, that we can always find a way to do more good for more people. The recommendations in this report will guide us as we move forward in advancing these shared DC values.”
The White House, though, criticized Bowser and the 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 Trump, she said, “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 said.
Photo courtesy: ©Kayla Koslosky
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.