Gov. Cuomo Says Columbus Statue Is About Honoring Italian-American Heritage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is weighing in on the controversy brewing in New York City over the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.

The statue’s possible removal is being mulled because of the explorer’s treatment of Native Americans.

The governor said he doesn’t think it should be taken down.

“The statue is really not about Columbus; it’s about the Italian-American heritage, and I think that deserves to be celebrated,” Cuomo told reporters at the West Indian Day Parade. “I believe the Italian-American heritage should be celebrated as part of the ongoing New York celebration of diversity.”

The governor added: “Nobody is saying that Christopher Columbus did not do bad acts to indigenous people, and I believe the indigenous people, by the way, should be celebrated. But if you want to take that kind of retrospective lens, where do you stop? Thomas Jefferson, George Washington — you know, who is without sin?”

De Blasio has not called for the outright removal of the statue but is leaving it up to a commission that he plans to appoint that will review the appropriateness of statues and monuments on city property.

Vandals have hit a number of Columbus statues in New York and other areas of the country amid a national debate over controversial monuments.

Meanwhile, the governor was also asked about who he is backing in next week’s mayoral primary.

“I don’t vote in the primary election. I’m a Westchester resident,” Cuomo said. “I’m not voting in this election, so I don’t have any primary endorsements at this time.”

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