Trump's Columbus Day proclamation includes stark warnings
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's proclamation to commemorate Columbus Day on Friday deviates from a typical White House holiday announcement, with strong warnings of "radical activists" looking to tarnish the researcher's legacy.
Native American advocates have been pushing for years to turn Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples Day, fearing that Christopher Columbus helped start centuries of indigenous genocide in America.
"Unfortunately, radical activists have tried in recent years to undermine the legacy of Christopher Columbus," said Trump in his proclamation on Monday of Columbus Day. "These extremists try to replace the discussion of his extensive contributions with talk of mistakes, his discoveries with atrocities, and his successes with transgressions."
Trump has made a name for himself as a defender of American history and monuments as he seeks re-election. He recently signed a regulation establishing a commission to promote so-called "patriotic education". The move is in part in response to the New York Times' "1619 Project," which highlights the long-term consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans.
Trump frequently quotes the commission at his campaign events, and he did so in his proclamation on Friday.
Trump has also ordered federal agencies to end diversity training programs. In his proclamation on Friday, he said that many such programs are "based on the same kind of revisionist story that seeks to remove Christopher Columbus from our national heritage".
"Together we must protect our history and stop this new wave of iconoclasm by opposing those who spread hatred and division," said Trump.
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