Meghan McCain said that America is ‘one week away from blowing up Mount Rushmore’ as she complained about offensive statues and monuments coming down around the country as part of efforts toward achieving racial equality.
McCain spoke out during a segment on The View Monday morning, discussing how the American Museum of Natural History asked the City of New York for permission to take down a statue of Theodore Roosevelt which ‘depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior’.
The Republican daughter of late Senator John McCain reiterated the sentiment later on Twitter, posting: ‘We’re like one week removed from entire cable news panels debating whether or not we should blow up Mount Rushmore.’
In 1927, a white man from Connecticut dynamited the Black Hills, in South Dakota and carved the faces of the four founding fathers. It was against his agreement with state historian, Doane Robinson that the work would honor both Native Americans and pioneers.
Meghan McCain tweeted Monday: ‘We’re like one week removed from entire cable news panels debating whether or not we should blow up Mount Rushmore’
Theodore Roosevelt’s face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt’s face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.
McCain said on The View: ‘I think the question I have is how far does this go? Are we talking about removing Mount Rushmore if we don’t like our founding fathers? Are we talking about removing Robin Williams’ character from Night at the Museum,’ the children’s movie where he portrays Teddy Roosevelt?’
McCain probed her co-hosts, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Sunny Hostin on their person feelings about the removal of statues and monuments that are seen as glorifying racism and oppression.
Goldberg explained that the museum is not protesting Roosevelt, whose father was a founding member of the museum and who has several areas of the museum named after him.
‘They’re protesting the fact that he’s sitting on a horse with the other two folks behind him,’ Goldberg said.
McCain expressed opposition to the NYC American Museum of Natural History taking down statue of Theodore Roosevelt that shows him flanked by a Native American man and African American man
The statue was brought to life by Robin Williams who portrayed Roosevelt in the popular film series, Night at the Museum. In the film, he stars alongside Ben Stiller – who plays a security guard – who explores the events taking place at the museum at night. Are we talking about removing Robin Williams’ character from Night at the Museum?’ she asked
Whoopi Goldberg (top left) explained that for the museum it wasn’t about not liking the man whose father founded the museum. ‘All of these were put out by folks who were not affected really by it. It looked really heroic, and now folks who are affected say, we want some of our heroes to participate in this’
Theodore Roosevelt and his bronze statue
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909.
The Republican, whose face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, is credited with laying the groundwork for the modern Democratic party.
His progressive policies levelled the playing field between rich and poor, and this mantle would be carried forward in the modern liberalism of his cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.
Teddy Roosevelt called himself a ‘new nationalist,’ and believed strongly in egalitarianism.
The equestrian statue of the 33rd governor of New York outside the American Museum of Natural History was erected in 1939.
Roosevelt had developed a ‘cowboy’ image and that of a brave, masculine warrior during his presidency.
He was a great conservationist, setting up America’s first National Parks, and also a foreign policy interventionist who proudly built up the US Navy with the Great White Fleet.
It is through this context that we can see Roosevelt depicted as the bold colonialist explorer, guided through the wilderness by one figure representing Native America and the other, Africa.
Museum president Ellen V. Futter calls this a ‘hierarchical composition.’
Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great-grandson of the president and museum trustee, claims: ‘The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.’
Roosevelt’s great-grandson gave his blessing to take down the statue.
But McCain wanted the museum to instead remove parts of the statue that show the black and Native American men.
‘I love the museum of natural history. Children learn about animals, hunted by him. I’m confused,’ she told her co-hosts. She explained she and her husband have a painting of Teddy Roosevelt at home and probed her co-hosts whether it would make them feel uncomfortable.
She added: ‘We’re entering a phase I’m not entirely comfortable with if we’re going to eliminate all people who had anything to do in American history with something that’s problematic because we should start with the naming of Yale and New York City if we’re going to do that.’
After McCain shared her priority of what should be amended based on her personal views, Goldberg explained it might be time to replace some monuments that have been up over 100 years because other people who have been affected by America’s violent history against people of color have had their own history erased.
‘It is problematic because these statues have been put up and no one’s talked about them,’ Goldberg told McCain.
‘So this is the first conversation, and again, no one is faulting Teddy Roosevelt for anything. ‘They just want to remove that particular statue because of the way that it is sitting. I don’t think they can take the Native American and the African away from there. I don’t think they can separate it.
‘All of these were put out by folks who were not affected really by it. It looked really heroic, and now folks who are affected say, we want some of our heroes to participate in this. I think that’s what this is really all about, and so I want more people to do their homework because to, you know, they’re all flawed people.’
Goldberg however did disagree with the pulling down of a President Ulysses statue in San Francisco.
When the federal government forced the Native Americans to relinquish The Black Hills, sacred to the Lakota Sioux, and dishonoured a treaty, President Ulysses Grant said the Native Americans would have to assimilate to their white oppressors or face a ‘war of extermination’, PBS reports.
In 1970s book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, Dee Brown explained that hundreds of Native American men, women and children were then massacred by US troops.
Goldberg added: ‘Grant like Lincoln married into a family that owned slaves. He freed them on the eve of the civil war. He was also one of the people that fought the KKK as attorney general.
‘So there are problematic things with all of these, but now we’re all in the conversation about them, and I think that’s what makes this different.’
Sunny Hostin took a stance that a more complete American history needs to taught in schools and blamed the biased system for the stark differences in opinion.
‘I think again it goes to education, right? And I can understand why people feel threatened and uncomfortable about tearing things down because if you have been taught your entire life that this is your history, that this is something that you should be proud of, you have been taught somehow that this is your heritage and you have been taught of your superiority,’ Hostin told McCain.
‘But – and that superiority is based on the alleged inferiority of others, there is tension there, and unfortunately again, it’s this revisionist history that so many of us have been taught, and I think it really lies – the solution lies in education because if you are taught that George Washington is not the person you thought he was, if you are taught perhaps that Roosevelt is not the person you thought he was, or Grant is not the person you thought he was, or general Lee is not the person you thought he was, I think you would think twice about having a statue of him up in a park or of him in your home.’
In 1927, a white man from Connecticut dynamited the Black Hills, in South Dakota and carved the faces of the four founding fathers. It was against his agreement with state historian, Doane Robinson that the work would honor both Native Americans and pioneers. Pictured: Senator George McGovern, Democratic presidential candidate, talks with Ben Black Elk, 73-year-old Oglala Indian Chief, during his visit to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial