Rochester mayor criticizes President Trump in response to Frederick Douglass statue tweet

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren criticized President Donald Trump Monday in response to a tweet regarding the vandalized Frederick Douglass statue.

Earlier Monday, the president chimed in about the vandalized Douglass Statue at Maplewood Park, saying “anarchists have no bounds!” Mayor Warren responded a few hours later with:

“Despite knowing their flaws, Douglass said of our founders: ‘They loved their country better than their own private interests.’ We wish you would do the same by providing funding for our cities, uniting us instead of dividing us, and encouraging masks to stop COVID.”

The statue of the abolitionist was ripped from its base in Rochester Sunday, on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches, delivered in the city in 1852.

Police said the statue of Douglass was taken on Sunday from Maplewood Park, a site along the Underground Railroad where Douglas and Harriet Tubman helped shuttle slaves to freedom.

The statue was found at the brink of the Genesee River gorge about 50 feet from its pedestal, police said. There was damage to the base and a finger.

The statue was one of 13 placed throughout the city in 2018, as part of a citywide, yearlong celebration of Douglass’ 200th birthday, and this is the second monument to be vandalized.

Back then, police determined two drunk college students were behind the mischief. Police continue to investigate the incident this time around, but there has been no word from officials regarding possible suspects or a motivation at this time.

In Rochester on July 5, 1852, Douglass gave the speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” in which he called the celebration of liberty a sham in a nation that enslaves and oppresses its Black citizens.

To a slave, Douglass said, Independence Day is “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

President Trump wasn’t the only national figure to chime in on the vandalism. His son, Donald Trump Jr., wrote wrote: “Disgusting! We should all realize this movement is about promoting Marxism not stopping racism. They’re not going to stop folks.”

Other national leaders commenting on the incident included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyformer Florida Governor Jeb BushRep. Lee Zeldin, and more.

Local leaders involved in the monuments creation believe that current national focus on race could have played a role in this.

“What comes of this? Is this some type of retaliation because of the national fever over confederate monuments right now? Very disappointing its beyond disappointing,” said Carvin Eison, Project director, re-energize the legacy of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration.

Maplewood Park was picked for the monument because of the link to the Underground Railroad.

“I feel to put a monument back here immediately so who ever did this know that we are not going to be deterred from what our objective is and our objective is to continually celebrate Frederick Douglass,” said Eison. “They can topple over this monument, they could go topple over all of them, this monument will still stand because the ideas behind it are bigger than the monument.”

At this time police say are no suspects or known motive, but they add the investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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