President Donald Trump slammed Princeton University in a Monday tweet for its decision to remove the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from their policy center.
“Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center,” Trump tweeted. “Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity!”
Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center. Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
Princeton’s Board of Trustees announced Saturday that they would be removing Wilson’s name from a residential college and their school of public policy. (RELATED: Gov. Cuomo: Toppling Historical Statues ‘A Healthy Expression’ Of Rage)
“Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time,” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement.
“Wilson’s segregationist policies make him an especially inappropriate namesake for a public policy school,” he added. “When a university names a school of public policy for a political leader, it inevitably suggests that the honoree is a model for students who study at the school. This searing moment in American history has made clear that Wilson’s racism disqualifies him from that role.”
Students staged a walk-out in 2015 to demand the removal of Wilson’s name from the residence hall and the school of public policy. They also wanted his portrait taken down from the dining hall.
Wilson, a Princeton graduate and former president of the school, is known for creating the Federal Reserve, bolstering the power of the federal government, and leading the United States into World War I. He was instrumental in the founding of the League of Nations.
However, Wilson was known for harboring racist beliefs and supporting segregation, including re-segregating the civil service after it had been integrated for decades, the trustees noted. He also discouraged Black students from applying to Princeton, associate professor of history and African-American Studies Joshua Guild said according to WNYC News.
Wilson is also known for the first White House movie screening in 1915. He showed “The Birth of a Nation,” a movie about the Reconstruction Era that portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as heroes who saved America from lazy and incompetent African-Americans. The KKK saw a huge uptick in membership after the movie came out, according to the New Yorker.
Activists have increased calls to remove the names of historical figures from buildings and statues during the nationwide protests that erupted following the death of George Floyd. While they first targeted Confederate statues, protesters have now torn down monuments of historical figures such as Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant.