New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is removing a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and a Founding Father, from City Hall after nearly two centuries.
New York City’s Public Design Commission, each member of which is appointed by the mayor, is planning to loan the Jefferson statue to the New York Historical Society. The commission has listed the statue’s loan under its “consent” agenda, meaning the decision to remove the statue will not be open for public debate, according to the New York Post.
“The de Blasio administration will continue the progressive war on history as he, himself, fades away into a portrait on a City Hall wall,” Republican Councilman Joe Borelli told the Post. “I hope he is at least gone a couple hundred years before someone cancels him.”
Democrats and progressives sitting on New York’s city council have pushed for the statue’s banishment for over a year. Democratic Councilwoman Debi Rose said last year that Jefferson’s ownership of slaves justifies his bust’s expulsion from City Hall.
“His words are ‘all men are created equal’ but they were not matched by his action, which included the ability to sell, buy, mortgage and lease human beings,” Rose said in June 2020. Her comments came weeks after the court-adjudicated murder of George Floyd, which set off protests and riots across the country over alleged systemic racism and calls to “defund the police.”
Rose signed a petition along with four other council members for de Blasio to remove Jefferson’s statue from City Hall.
“He believed black people to be racially inferior, said black Americans and white Americans could not live peacefully side by side and he fathered as many as six children with a woman he enslaved,” Rose said of Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence. “I believe the New York City Council should neither ignore nor glorify this dark side of American history.”
As Jefferson’s statue is under attack in New York City, Floyd has been memorialized in a bust unveiled in Brooklyn in June. Last week, the Floyd statue was defaced with paint. As The Daily Wire reported:
A statue that featured a bronze bust of George Floyd was defaced Sunday morning with a gray, water-based paint.
CNN reported that the statue was part of Confront Art’s “SEEINJUSTICE” exhibition, which also featured two other statues, all of which were opened to the public last Friday evening. The Floyd statue was defaced with paint around 10 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the New York Police Department.
“There’s video footage police were able to ascertain,” detective Frances Sammon told CNN. “They show a male ducking down under one of the statues. He then mixes something together, and, as he skates away, he throws a container of paint at the statue.”
Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020. He died after being arrested for allegedly passing fake currency at a convenience store. Prior to the incident, Floyd was arrested nine previous times, largely on drug and theft charges. In one instance, Floyd held a woman at gunpoint while his accomplices robbed her home.