'Incredible stupidity': Trump blasts Princeton's decision to strip Woodrow Wilson's name from school
As U.S. president from 1913 to 1921, Wilson implemented racist policies such as resegregating federal government workers. Wilson also served as president of Princeton in the early 1900s and blocked Black students from applying.
“The trustees concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms,” said Christopher L. Eisgruber, Princeton’s president, in a statement Saturday.
Trump’s condemnation of Princeton’s decision follows his recent defense of American historical figures whose place in society is being reevaluated. The president signed an executive order last week aimed at protecting monuments and statues, vowing to crack down on protesters toppling monuments of Confederate leaders and past U.S. presidents.
At a rally with college students last week, Trump decried what he called the “totalitarian” left for wanting to take down monuments to slave owners and Confederate figures.
“They hate our history, they hate our values, and they hate everything we prize as Americans,” the president said in Phoenix. “Our country didn’t grow great with them. It grew great with you and your thought process and your ideology. The left-wing mob is trying to demolish our heritage, so they can replace it with a new oppressive regime that they alone control.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, a prominent Princeton graduate, struck a different note while addressing the name change in a Monday afternoon tweet.
“Heartened to see my alma mater make this change, and even prouder of the students who’ve been advocating for this kind of change on campus for years,“ Obama wrote. “Let’s keep finding ways to be more inclusive to all students — at Princeton and at every school across the country.“
Trump’s tweeted reference of John Wayne is in reaction to a movement from California Democrats to remove the actor’s name from an Orange County airport. Local politicians say Wayne should not be commemorated because of his comments in favor of white supremacy in a 1971 Playboy interview.
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