A move to banish a statue of Thomas Jefferson from New York’s City Hall has been revealed for the sneaky scheme it was, forced out into the public eye after the New York Post found out about it.
An little-known city commission consisting of people appointed by leftist mayor Bill de Blasio was ready to OK the removal of the statue from City Hall — based on Jefferson’s having been a slave owner, before slavery was abolished during the Civil War – but they will now hold a public hearing on the move.
The eleven mayoral appointees on the Public Design Commission were planning to get rid of the statue that had stood in City Hall for nearly 200 years, The Post reported on Oct. 15. The removal was part of their “consent” agenda for Oct. 18, meaning it was to have gotten an up or down vote by the committee instead of a public hearing.
After the story broke, however, the panel sent out a revised agenda with the statue removal as the top item.
Mayor de Blasio has tried to portray the planned removal as none of his doing, claiming on Oct. 14 that it was “motivated” by the legislative body.
In June 2020, the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray, described how a new “Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation” would review statues and monuments in public buildings in the city, including monuments to both Jefferson and George Washington, who was also a slave owner.
On Oct. 14, however, while talking to the press, de Blasio tried to extricate both himself and the first lady from the affair. He said he respects the city’s legislative body and called removing the Jefferson statue from the City Council chambers an “understandable request.”
“It came from the Council, not from me or the First Lady,” he said. “This was a request from the City Council. That’s what motivated it.