New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he had traded in a desk that used to belong to former President Woodrow Wilson after backlash.
The move came after Murphy, a Democrat, tweeted a photo of himself observing a moment of silence for George Floyd from behind the wooden desk. Social media users soon pointed out that the desk had a gold plaque that reads, “Woodrow Wilson’s Desk.”
“As soon as I could get a replacement, which was not as easy as I thought, I got one, and I think that was the right thing to do,” Murphy said on Monday, adding that the United States is having a “reckoning” and that “Woodrow Wilson and his legacy is being swept up in that as it should be.”
Wilson, who was the Democratic governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913 and was elected president in 1912, had a history of making racist statements. He once called segregation a “benefit” and claimed slaves had been “happy and well-cared for,” according to CNN.
Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber also released a statement last week announcing that the university would remove Wilson’s name from its public policy school and residential college because of his “racist” policies.
“The trustees conclude that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must firmly stand against racism in all its forms,” Eisgruber said. “Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential, even by the standards of his own time. He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades, thereby taking America backward in its pursuit of justice.”
Earlier in June, Monmouth University, also located in New Jersey, announced that it would remove Wilson’s name from one of the most prominent buildings on its campus.
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