President Trump celebrated Italian explorer Christopher Columbus Monday despite decisions by many major U.S. cities and states to instead remember the indigenous peoples who lived in America prior to colonization.
"Christopher Columbus’s spirit of determination & adventure has provided inspiration to generations of Americans. On #ColumbusDay, we honor his remarkable accomplishments as a navigator, & celebrate his voyage into the unknown expanse of the Atlantic Ocean," Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning.
[Related: Columbus, Ohio, abandons celebration of Columbus Day]
Christopher Columbus’s spirit of determination & adventure has provided inspiration to generations of Americans. On #ColumbusDay, we honor his remarkable accomplishments as a navigator, & celebrate his voyage into the unknown expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. https://t.co/Mg3dxRfPuN— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2018
In a Saturday statement, the White House deemed the federal holiday a chance to "acknowledge the important contributions of Italian Americans to our country’s culture, business, and civic life."
Cities including San Francisco and Cincinnati, as well as the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon have chosen in recent years not to observe Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. Some have renamed it Indigenous Peoples Day, Discoverers' Day, even Native American Day to honor those who lived in what is now America prior to its being discovered by Columbus's three ships.
Trump's message did not reference Native Americans, nor did it last year. Instead, the White House said Columbus's discovery is remembered as a "historic achievement" that "ushered in an Age of Discovery."
"Columbus’s daring journey marked the beginning of centuries of transatlantic exploration that transformed the Western Hemisphere. On Columbus Day, we commemorate the achievements of this skilled Italian explorer and recognize his courage, will power, and ambition — all values we cherish as Americans," according to the White House statement.
"His expedition formed the initial bond between Europe and the Americas, and changed the world forever. Today, in that spirit, we continue to seek new horizons for greater opportunity and further discovery on land, in sea, and in space," it continued.