WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Donald Trump is seeking to give a place of prominence to a famous Delawarean from history at a time when local officials are revisiting his legacy.
In a speech Thursday, Trump cited plans to include Revolutionary War-era figure Caesar Rodney in a newly planned “National Garden of American Heroes.”
In his speech, Trump criticized Wilmington officials for removing a statue of Rodney over the summer. Trump called Rodney “one of Delaware's most beloved citizens.”
In a statement to the News Journal, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said the city “did not remove the Caesar Rodney statue to discredit it, but to protect it.” He said the removal will allow the city to have a reasoned discussion about what is appropriate for public display.
Rodney, who owned slaves, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence who dramatically broke a tie in the Delaware delegation's support for independence in 1776.