- Rudy Giuliani discussed the controversy surrounding Christopher Columbus with Steve Bannon on Monday.
- Giuliani suggested the Italian explorer didn’t do anything that others of his time wouldn’t have.
- Most historians acknowledge that Columbus committed and allowed his men to commit several crimes.
Criticism of the holiday’s namesake has surged in recent decades, with Indigenous Americans and other groups protesting the celebration of a man who most historians believe committed and allowed his men to commit atrocities, including rape, enslavement, and murder.
But when asked about the infamous explorer by Bannon on Monday, Giuliani seemed to handwave the countless allegations against Columbus, as first reported by Raw Story.
“Did he engage in some immoral acts himself?” Giuliani said. “Did he allow his crew to do it? There seems to be evidence that he did. But we don’t know that for sure. It’s hundreds of years ago.”
“Did he do anything that other men and women of his age would have done? No,” he added. “And have all of our other heroes done that? I mean, John F. Kennedy – now it’s a different age, but now we know things about John F. Kennedy that make him considerably less than perfect.”
The former New York mayor went on to compare Columbus’ purported crimes to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt turning away a ship of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis during World War II.
“I can find any single one of their heroes, on the left and on the right,” he said.
In recent years, several US states and cities have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in order to acknowledge the atrocities committed against Native communities throughout America’s history.
President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day last week, declaring the holiday would be observed on October 11 in honor of America’s first inhabitants.
In a White House release acknowledging that the holiday will share a date with Columbus Day, Biden encouraged the country to not bury “shameful episodes of our past.”