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Letitia James says Columbus statue should stay

Public Advocate Letitia James gave an emphatic “no” to the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in ​Manhattan Sunday, arguing it should remain and be used as a “teaching opportunity.”

James, a longtime ally of Mayor de Blasio, waded into the controversy Sunday morning during an appearance on John Catsimatidis​’​ 970​-​AM radio show.

“We’ve got to make sure that that statue, that monument remains,” she said of the marble carving, which stands atop a column in the middle of Columbus Circle.

“We need to make sure we use this as a teaching opportunity, and we need to make sure that we don’t confuse the two between the confederates who were rebels and traitors to our country,” she continued.

De Blasio ​immediately called for a task force​ last month​ in response to white nationalists who rioted in Charlottesville, Va. over the removal of Confederate monuments.​ ​Last week ​he impaneled the commission.

​Both the mayor and Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito have come under ​fire for mulling the removal of ​the Columbus statue​ ​as part of ​that review.​

De Blasio has repeatedly refused to say whether he thinks the Columbus statue should stay or go, though.

“Christopher Columbus does have a sordid past. We need to inform individuals about that past,” James said. “This monument needs to remain.”

​Last Monday, Gov. Cuomo also defended the Columbus statue. “The Christopher Columbus statue is really about honoring Italian Americans,” ​he said.

“I for one for obvious reasons happen to believe in the Italian-American heritage. I believe in the contribution Italian-Americans have made, just as I believe in celebrating the Caribbean and the Israel day parade.”​

And on Friday, de Blasio’s Republican challenger weighed in, saying the mayor should go back to using his given German name after his refusal to defend statues of ​the ​Italian explorer.

“I really think Bill de Blasio should go back to using his birth name of Warren Wilhelm, because he obviously doesn’t have the heart and soul of an Italian,’’ Malliotakis said of de Blasio, who is half Italian.

Malliotakis, who is half Greek and half Cuban, has said Columbus statues should stay.​​

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/09/10/letitia-james-says-columbus-statue-should-stay/

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