“Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine the legacy of Christopher Columbus,” Trump said in his proclamation declaring Monday as Columbus Day. “These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with discussions of failures, his discoveries with atrocities, and his accomplishments with transgressions. ”
Trump has projected himself as a defender of American history and monuments as he seeks re-election. He recently signed a decree to create a commission to promote what he calls “patriotic education”. This decision is in part a response to The New York Times’ “Project 1619”, which highlights the long-term consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans.
Trump frequently quotes the commission during his campaign rallies, and he did so again in his proclamation on Friday.
Trump also ordered federal agencies to end diversity training programs. In his proclamation on Friday, he said many such programs “are based on the same type of revisionist history that attempts 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 hatred and division,” Trump said.