A Providence, Rhode Island city official said Wednesday that she supports the vandalism of a local Christopher Columbus statute, which was covered in paint late Sunday night on the eve of Columbus Day.
“You know, I do. I think the statue should be removed,” Providence City Councilor Katherine Kerwin told local radio station WPRO News when asked whether she approves of the vandalism.
“I think that healthy civil disobedience is really good for society,” the city council member continued. “I don’t know who did it, but they created a really healthy dialogue in Providence.”
Vandals splashed red paint on the statue and chained to the base a sign reading, “stop celebrating genocide.” By Monday, Columbus Day, the paint had been cleaned off.
Kerwin is a member of both the committee on city property and the committee on public works.
The legacy of the Italian explorer, whose 1492 journey to the Americas is credited with discovering a sailing route to the New World, has come under fire in recent years from critics who feel the celebration of his legacy constitutes an endorsement of the genocide of native peoples. Some states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day or Native American Day.
President Trump suggested Wednesday, however, that he intends to keep the holiday official.
“To me it will always be called Columbus Day,” Trump said Wednesday during a press conference in the Oval Office with Italian President Sergio Mattarella. “Some people don’t like that. I do.”
“It seems to me that he did a good job back then,” Mattarella added.
“I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities,” Trump said during a proclamation marking October 14 of this year as Columbus Day.