Trump condemns removal of controversial Teddy Roosevelt statue from New York museum: 'Ridiculous, don't do it'
The decision to remove Theodore Roosevelt's statue from the Museum of Natural History's entrance was declared by city officials and museum staff
President Donald J. Trump, on Monday, June 22, denounced the decision to remove a statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt from the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, calling it "ridiculous." The Republican took to Twitter on Monday morning, ordering authorities to not take down the statue, which depicts Roosevelt on horseback leading two figures, one African and one Native American.
Trump retweeted a Washington Post article, which called the statue "problematic" and stated New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's statement of its imminent removal. "Ridiculous, don’t do it!" the president tweeted.
The decision to remove the controversial statue from the museum was announced on Sunday, June 21, jointly by city officials and the museum staff. The authorities made the decision in the wake of recent widespread protests over the death of George Floyd and systemic racism in the United States. They said that the recent protests were the reason they reflected on the statue's controversial depiction of Black and Indigenous people.
The Museum of Natural History, in a statement, said that the particular Roosevelt statue "has long been controversial because of the hierarchical composition that places one figure on horseback and the others walking alongside, and many of us find its depictions of the Native American and African figures and their placement in the monument racist."
Ellen Futter, the museum's president, in an interview with The New York Times, said that the museum community "has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd” in recent weeks. Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed on May 25 in police custody after an officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for over seven minutes while Floyd pleaded him to let him breathe.
Futter further added: "We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism."
NYC Mayor De Blasio also released a statement in the wake of the museum's decision, saying: "The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior. The City supports the Museum’s request," he added. "It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."
Black Lives Matter demonstrators and other allies, amidst the ongoing anti-racism protests across the US and around the world, have been demanding from the authorities to take down monuments honoring pro-slavery Confederate figures and the architects of Europe's colonies.
President Trump, meanwhile, has come under fire for slamming the protests and demonstrators. Trump, at his Tulsa rally last week, had called the demonstrators "unhinged left-wing mob."
"The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments - our beautiful monuments - tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control. We're not conforming", the president had said while addressing his supporters at the Tulsa, Oklahoma rally on June 20.