Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday said the federal government has a responsibility to protect statues and monuments of historical figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Columbus.
Speaking at a press conference in Wilmington, Del., the former vice president defended monuments dedicated to past presidents who owned slaves. Biden made the case that those public statues should be preserved, while monuments to Confederate leaders should be removed peacefully by local officials.
“The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and somebody who was in rebellion committing treason trying to take down a union to keep slavery, I think there’s a distinction there,” Biden said.
“I think with regard to those statues and monuments, like the Jefferson Memorial, there’s an obligation that the government protect those monuments because they’re different. That’s a remembrance, it’s not dealing with revering somebody who had that view. They had much broader views. They may have had things in their past that were now and then distasteful, but that’s a judgment.”
Read more at The Hill.