The benefactor of the Washington Monument’s recent renovation told Fox News host Dana Perino on Tuesday that he doubts the District’s proposal to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” major monuments in Washington, D.C., will be “taken seriously.”
Philanthropist and Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, who donated more than $10 million to repair the iconic obelisk after it was damaged in a 2011 earthquake, told Perino, “There are many things I worry about, but removing the Washington Monument is not something I worry about,” according to Fox News.
“Same with the Jefferson Memorial. There may be some proposals around, but I don’t think they’ll be taken seriously,” he added.
“All people that have memorials or monuments on their behalf have made some mistakes in their lives, some flaws,” Rubenstein continued. “There’s no doubt George Washington was a slave owner, Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, but they didn’t get those memorials and monuments because they were slave owners. It’s because of the other things they did.”
“So, I think you have to look at the whole context of what a person’s life is. And if a monument or memorial is designed to celebrate somebody being a slave owner, then that’s one thing. But that’s not the case with the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial, in my view.”
Rubenstein, who has donated significant funds to benefit other buildings on the National Mall, told NPR in 2019, “I get a lot of pleasure out of doing these things. And if I didn’t do them and I died with more money, would I be a happier person? I don’t think so.”
As The Daily Wire reported last week:
A commission created by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has recommended a slew of changes to public buildings in the district that includes scrubbing Thomas Jefferson’s name from schools and potentially removing the Washington Monument.
The District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) board submitted its recommendations to Bowser on Monday, suggesting changes to monuments, memorials, and public spaces to better reflect “DC values.” Bowser assembled the committee in July to “review the legacy of namesakes of District assets.”
The DCFACES committee evaluated historical figures based on “key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Right [sic] Act,” according to the report’s executive summary.
Among the monuments the commission recommended revisiting are those commemorating Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, and others.
This July, I tasked the DCFACES Working Group with evaluating public spaces to ensure the namesake's legacy is consistent with #DCValues.
They have delivered the report, and I look forward to reviewing and advancing their recommendations.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) September 1, 2020
President Donald Trump recently blasted Bowser for not doing more to quell violent riots in the nation’s capital, which potentially endangered lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and state Sen. Vernon Jones (D-GA).
Describing how Bowser “often asks for money,” Trump questioned, “What are you going to waste it on, mayor?”