The New York Young Republican Club plans to hold a rally in New York City on Sunday in defense of the statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the entrance of The American Museum of Natural History.
“We’re not afraid of the mob,” Gavin Wax, the president of club told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.
Officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced last week that the statue will be removed after years of objections that it symbolizes colonial expansion and racial discrimination.
The move comes amid a growing push to remove statues and monuments and other images honoring Confederate soldiers, slave owners and other controversial historical figures, which have been torn down in states, including Virginia and California – either officially or by the protesters themselves.
Wax explained on Sunday that his club “will be leading a rally along with activists from across the five boroughs to demonstrate in defense of the equestrian statue of Teddy Roosevelt, which greets millions every year as they enter into the American Museum of Natural History, which is an institution that would not even be there today if not for the great work of our 26th president, who was an American patriot and icon.”
The bronze statue that has stood at the museum’s Central Park West entrance since 1940, as the New York Times reported, depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse.
The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio announced last Sunday in a written statement. “It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
De Blasio’s statement came as anti-racism demonstrations have continued in major cities, with some turning violent, after the May 25 killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, the African-American man who died after a white police officer was seen pressing his knee on his neck.
“Make no mistake about it, this is about much more than just one statue, this is about a cultural revolution, which is engulfing our nation,” Wax said on Sunday.
“Leftist mobs across the country are seeking to destroy and erase American history, our traditions, our past and they will do so under any guise, whether it’s racial injustice or some other inequity in society.”
He went on to say that “we have to realize this is really about one thing and one thing only, power, because those who control the past control the future as we’ve seen throughout history from revolutionary Jacobins in France, to Nazi Germany, to the Soviet Union, to Maoist China.”
“So our demonstration today, understanding it’s just a small part of this fight, we are hoping to send a message to the silent majority, as it’s called, across this country that they should be silent no longer and that we have a great history, a great legacy as a nation,” Wax continued, adding that “it’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be proud of.”
“We should stand tall and defend it,” Wax said.
The museum’s president, Ellen Futter, told the Times, “Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd.”
“We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism,” she added. “Simply put, the time has come to move it.”
Wax pointed out that “there’s a lot of hypocrisy going on.”
He went on to say that “as far as the figures flanking” Rosevelt in the statue, “they’re not depicted negatively, they’re standing tall and proud, not subservient.”
“It doesn’t matter how innocuous the statue is, the left will always find an excuse to take it down, to deface it and to destroy it and we need to stand up,” he continued.
Wax said he expects more than 150 people will show up to the rally to defend the statue.
“We have our numbers, we have history on our side and we’re not scared of the mob,” Wax said.