AÂ growing number of Americans areÂ rethinking how they should talk about Italian explorer Christopher Columbus on the October day designated to honor his voyage. But the Trump campaign isÂ notÂ joining them.
Instead, the campaign is doubling down on honoringÂ the colonizerÂ who is increasingly being scrutinized for his mistreatment of Native Americans and African slaves.
The president’s reelection campaign is having a Columbus Day saleÂ to allow customers supportive ofÂ the navigator’sÂ voyage (which did not make it to what is now the United States of America) to purchaseÂ theÂ âMake America Great AgainâÂ merchandise of their choice for a discounted price.
Email to Trump supporters: “Columbus Day Sale!” on Trump merchandise, as liberals try to “erase our nation’s past.” pic.twitter.com/MWtjvpiavp
â Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) October 8, 2017
âAs Leftists push harder and harder to erase our nation’s past, there’s never been a better time to celebrate ourÂ history,â the email said. âThat’s why we’re celebrating Christopher Columbus’s legendary voyage to America with an EXCLUSIVE Columbus Day Sale!â
More than 70Â cities, states and higher-education institutionsÂ in the United States have opted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day to highlight the contributionsÂ of Native Americans.
The president has beenÂ vocal in his support for not renaming or removing traditional pieces of U.S. history, despite how many AmericansÂ speak out about the problems of honoring figures with harmful pasts.
Following ongoing attempts to remove or rename memorials honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders, Trump suggested that attempts to do so are a rewriting of history.
âYou can’t change history, but you can learn from it,â heÂ tweeted.
In the case of the Trump reelection campaign, learning from history seems to mean saving 25 percent on a $40 Trump-Pence hooded sweatshirt or a $45 bronze âPresidential Medal.â
But to many Americans, learning from history could start with Trump simply acknowledging Native Americans in his Columbus Day proclamation. The White House omitted any mention of them in it.
âThe permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas was a transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great Nation,â it read.
But what the White House does not mention is how transformative Columbus’s arrival was for the people already in the âNew Worldâ and how much explorers arriving in the Americas âchanged the course of human historyâ for those living onÂ the land.
It does not include the concerns of Native Americans protesting the Trump administration’s approval of the Dakota Access pipeline, which some argue violates treaties indigenous groups living on theÂ Standing Rock Indian ReservationÂ signed with the federal government in the 1800s. Nor does it include an apology to the Native Americans offended by his repeated use ofÂ the name âPocahontasâ as a slur against rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), despite members of his own party calling his actions âpejorative.â Nor is there any mention of this administration’s plans to respond to the fact that one in four Native Americans and Alaska Natives are living in poverty, according to Pew Research Center.
In Trump’s inauguration address, he promised to be a unifier who would bring together the groups that oftentimes appeared to be at war with one another during the election.
ToÂ Mark Charles, a Native American activist, the best way to emphasize America’s greatness is toÂ portray its past as accurately as possible.
âHis statement made it even more apparent that our country needs to teach its history properly,â he said Monday during a lecture in response to Trump’s statement. âWe need to understand what happened and how this took place. We need to understand how we got where we are today.â