A statue of Thomas Jefferson was removed from NYC City Hall on Tuesday. The city’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove the statue in a vote earlier this month. The Jefferson statue had been displayed in the building for 187 years.
The commission, which was comprised of mayoral appointees, approved the statue’s removal to the private museum. Those in favor of the statue’s removal took issue with Jefferson having been a slave owner. Members of the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus demanded after the vote that the statue be moved by the body’s next meeting on Nov. 23, which it ultimately was.
“Each day it is allowed to linger there serves as a reminder to our members of the horrors perpetrated against Blacks and Indigenous Peoples by revered figures – like Jefferson – who were instrumental in America’s creation, but also known practitioners of slavery that espoused white supremacist belief,” the caucus said in a statement.
Today New York City Hall removed the statue of Thomas Jefferson in a shameful act of hypocrisy.
He was right about them:
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government."
—Thomas Jefferson pic.twitter.com/dT3Vkf6ewo
— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) November 23, 2021
“Moving this statue doesn’t mean New Yorkers will forget who Thomas Jefferson was — but some of them might learn from the controversy that the man who wrote ‘all men are created equal’ owned over 600 of his fellow humans,” said Erin Thompson, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Others were opposed to the move, including Staten Island Republican Councilman Joe Borelli. “This is a vote to sideline history,” Borelli told the New York Post.
President Trump predicted that statues of founders would be removed during the infamous Charlottesville press conference, which was the same press conference that gave birth to the “very fine people” lie. “Was George Washington a slave owner? So Will George Washington now lose his status?” Trump asked. “What about Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of Thomas Jefferson, you like him?” he then asked Jim Acosta of CNN.
Acosta replied in the affirmative, prompting Trump to say “Ok good, are we gonna take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner….. you’re changing history, you’re changing culture.
President Trump was right.
He predicted that woke leftists would not stop with the removal of civil war statues and would next call for removing the statues of our founders, including Washington and Jefferson.
NYC just removed a Thomas Jefferson statue from City Hall. pic.twitter.com/R8mPNh6NbR
— Brick Suit (@Brick_Suit) November 23, 2021
Trump’s comments were mocked by journalists and leftists alike, who argued that the debate was simply over the removal of confederate statues. Trump’s prediction was mocked as a ridiculous hypothetical that would never happen by mainstream journalists, including alleged comedian John Oliver.
2017: "Comedian" John Oliver mocking President Trump for suggesting statues of Washington and Jefferson would be next.
Today: Thomas Jefferson statue removed from City Hall after 187 years. pic.twitter.com/zTn2xhI6JM
— Adalia Brand (@BrandAdalia) November 23, 2021