Home News World Amid furor over monuments, Trump seeks ‘garden’ of U.S. heroes

Amid furor over monuments, Trump seeks ‘garden’ of U.S. heroes


President Donald Trump has a vision for his second term, if he wins one, of establishing a “National Garden of American Heroes” that will pay tribute to some of the most prominent figures in U.S. history, a collection of “the greatest Americans to ever live.”

The group of 30-plus features founding fathers and presidents, civil rights pioneers and aviation innovators, explorers and generals.

Absent from Trump’s initial list are any Native American, Hispanic or Asian-American individuals. The White House and Interior Department declined to comment on how the list was assembled.

Trump on Saturday spoke glowing about his selections as an “incredible group,” but also noted they “are just a few of the people” he is considering and “are subject to change.”

Also read: At Rushmore, Donald Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

“But once we make that decision, those great names are going to be up there and they’re never coming down,” Trump said in a speech at his “Salute for America” celebration at the White House to mark Independence Day.

Trump’s list includes

  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Daniel Boone
  • Davy Crockett
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Billy Graham
  • Douglas MacArthur
  • Christa McAuliffe
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Betsy Ross
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright

But Trump also is looking to put an ideological stamp on the idea of American greatness with the inclusion of conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court Justice.

 

Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly condemned the desecration and toppling of historic statues by demonstrators during protests over racial injustice and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“We will raise the next generation of American patriots,” Trump said at Mount Rushmore. “We will write the next thrilling chapter of the American adventure. And we will teach our children to know that they live in a land of legends, that nothing can stop them, and that no one can hold them down.”

The order says priority should be given to monuments to former presidents, to individuals and events relating to the discovery of America, the founding of the United States, and the abolition of slavery. “None will have lived perfect lives, but all will be worth honoring, remembering, and studying,” according to the order.

The order includes language to make clear that non-U.S. citizens who played significant roles in American history also could be honored in the garden. As examples of individuals who made substantive contributions to America’s public life or otherwise had a substantive effect on America’s history, it cites:

  • Italian explorer Christopher Columbus
  • Junipero Serra, a Roman Catholic priest who established Spanish missions in California
  • Marquis de La Fayette, a French officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War

A statue of Columbus, who has been criticized for brutal treatment of Native Americans, was removed this past week from outside the city hall in Columbus, Ohio. Last month, protesters toppled a statue of Serra in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Some historians say that Serra, who was canonized by the Catholic Church, had a mixed history that included him acting as an agent of the Spanish Empire’s colonization efforts in the 18th Century.

Also read: Protesters tear down Christopher Columbus statue in Minnesota

Trump on Friday again lashed out against a “left-wing cultural revolution” that he says is teaching American children “that the men and women who built” the country “were not heroes, but that were villains.”

“The radical view of American history is a web of lies – all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition,” Trump said.

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