Trump opposed to removing Theodore Roosevelt's statue from outside Museum of Natural History
By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) - United States President Donald Trump said Monday he refused to remove the towering statue of Theodore Roosevelt from outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The move was announced by the museum on Sunday and is taking place amid anti-racism protests in the United States and the world after an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died in police custody in the United States on May 25.
The statue shows Roosevelt on a horse with an Indian and an African at his side. It stands prominently on a plinth in front of the main entrance to the museum with a view of Central Park.
A Republican like Trump, Roosevelt was US President from 1901 to 1909. Known for his exuberant and daring nature, he has implemented antitrust, conservation and "square deal" reforms, and critics have followed an interventionist foreign policy approach, including the global projection of US naval power.
Many critics have said that the Roosevelt statue symbolizes racial discrimination and colonial expansion.
The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, said Sunday the city was in favor of the museum's request to remove the statue because it "depicts black and indigenous peoples as subjugated and racially inferior."
"Ridiculous, don't do it," Trump said Monday in a tweet https://bit.ly/3ez5QmU.
In the ongoing anti-racism demonstrations, demonstrators in the US and around the world have called for the authorities to dismantle monuments to honor the slave-friendly Confederate figures and the architects of the European colonies.
"Simply put, it's time to move it," museum president Ellen Futter told The New York Times https://nyti.ms/2YZncTo.
She said the museum's decision was based on the statue itself, along with its "hierarchical composition," and not on Roosevelt. Futter said the museum continued to honor Roosevelt as a "pioneering conservationist".
Alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, Roosevelt's face is also one of the four presidents whose faces are cast in 60-foot granite sculptures at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.
Trump blew up the protests against racism and said demonstrators had behaved badly.
"The carefree left-wing mob tries to destroy our history, desecrate our monuments - our beautiful monuments -, tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not meet their demands for absolute and complete control. We are not . " compliant, "the US president told supporters at a rally last week.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru editing by Gerry Doyle, Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich)
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