Joe Biden Says Confederate Monuments Should Come Down, But ‘Protect’ Columbus and George Washington


2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden expressed support for the removal of Confederate statues on Tuesday, though added that statues of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson should be protected by the government.

After Biden was asked by a reporter for his thoughts on Princeton University’s decision to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from their buildings, and what he thinks when he sees the removal of statues, Biden said, “I think there are sort of three categories on that.”

“Any institution that chose a name and wants to now jettison that name, that’s the decision for them to make for whatever reason they make, so I’m assuming the board of trustees at Princeton University made the judgment about the Woodrow Wilson school,” Biden declared, noting “it was made within the context of an institution that chose that name and now no longer wants to be associated with that name.”

“As the former mayor of New Orleans said, there’s a difference between reminders and remembrances of history and recovering from history. So the idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves, or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and somebody who was in rebellion and committing treason, running, trying to take down a union to keep slavery, I think there’s a distinction there,” he continued. “And so I think the idea of of bringing down I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, et cetera, who strongly supported secession and the maintenance of slavery, and going to war to do it, I think those statues belong in a museum. They don’t belong in public places.”

On other monuments, “like the Jefferson Memorial,” Biden said, “I think there is an obligation that the government protect those monuments, because they’re different than… That’s a remembrance, it is not dealing with revering somebody who had that view.”

“They had much broader views, they may have things in their past that are now and then distasteful, but that is a judgment,” he explained, concluding, “For example, taking down, toppling Christopher Columbus statues or George Washington statues, et cetera, I think that is something that the government has an opportunity and responsibility to protect from happening.”

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