New plan: let's get rid of monuments to Columbus and... Grant?

When the latest round of Confederate statue removal fever broke out, a number of conservatives were left wondering where it might all end. Some rather ludicrous possibilities were mentioned, largely seen as hyperbolic, yet many of them have since been suggested by activists. But even for all of that, I’ll confess that I didn’t see these coming. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been conducting a “review” of all the statuary in the Big Apple to sniff out whether or not any of it might give offense. (I’m sure this has nothing to do with his thinly veiled plans to run for either NY Governor or President. Perish the thought.)


That search has turned up some odd results. Two of the most notable potential targets are a massive monument to Christopher Columbus and Grant’s Tomb. And before you ask, no… I’m not making this up. First we’ll cover the Columbus angle. (CBS New York)

The city’s 76 foot tall monument to explorer Christopher Columbus which sits in Columbus Circle could be considered for the chopping block, removed as part of the mayor’s new purge.

“He is a controversial figure, and I know that many people take offense to that, but for many of us who come from the Caribbean Islands we see him as a controversial figure,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito said. “We have to look at history. We have to look at it thoroughly and clearly.”

This helpful feedback to the Mayor is coming from Melissa Mark Viverito, the Speaker on the City Council. You may recall Ms. Mark Viverito as the person who fought the hardest to ensure that convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera was honored in the Puerto Rican Day parade and marched alongside him on the big day. And now she’d like to tear down a monument to Columbus.


This apparently isn’t a form of madness unique to New York. You may recall that the statue of Columbus in Baltimore was vandalized recently. I suppose when something like this starts trending there will always be people ready to jump on the bandwagon.


Okay… so Columbus does have some baggage in terms of his treatment of indigenous peoples and whatnot. But… Grant? What were the sins of Ulysses S. Grant which merit his erasure from history by the Left? This one caught me by surprise because I clearly wasn’t paying attention in high school that day.

A spokesperson said Viverito also thinks that Grant’s Tomb should be on the review list. Grant has been regarded by some as anti-Semitic.

“In 1862, he signed general order 11, expelling Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. I wonder if you think that given the large number of Jewish, he should be buried in New York City,” CBS2’s Kramer asked the mayor.

“Marcia, I’m not familiar with that history. Obviously I take it very seriously, but I’m not familiar with it. We don’t tolerate anti-Semitism in New York City,” the mayor said. “We have to look at each one of these cases. We’ll have a commission. They’ll come up with some universal rules.”

To be clear, we’re not talking about a statue of Grant or a monument, a plaque or a street being named after him. That’s the General’s tomb. So we’re going to do what? Dig him up and ship him off to a cemetery in some other state?

For the record, I don’t recall ever hearing about Grant’s General Order 11. This took place well before he was President, but it was still a nasty piece of work. Being in charge of the issuance of trade licenses in the three states in question, Grant was tasked by Lincoln to shut down the black market cotton trade in the region. It was a valid order, but rather than just hunting down the actual profiteers, he forbid the issuance of licenses to all Jews and doubled down by giving them 24 hours to vacate the district or face imprisonment.


As I said, a nasty piece of business. But after all this time, do you dig up his bones and ship him out? We’ve lived to see interesting times indeed.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023