George Floyd. Sacagawea. The guy who invented air conditioning.
Americans' suggestions of suitable statues for President Donald Trump's planned National Garden of American Heroes are in, and they're more activist, less white and far more Indigenous than the president’s nominees.
Well, for the most part, anyway. The administration also is leaving open the possibility of a statue of Trump himself in the Trump-created statue park after receiving what it said were “multiple nominations" of the president.
Trump ordered up the statue park during a Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore, and set up a task force on a 60-day deadline to get the idea going. He also mused in a tweet that it would be a “good idea” to carve his own face into that memorial.
The task force charged with executing Trump's vision – with all of the publicly listed members white — says it sent out thousands of requests to state and local officials for suggestions, both for possible sites around the country and for heroes to honor. Its findings are due to be given to Trump by Tuesday.
Many of the nominations stand in stark contrast to the list the Trump administration came up with, which mandated inclusion of a few dozen mainstream and conservative figures, from John Adams to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and a few other Black leaders made the Trump administration’s hero list, but not anyone known for their Native American, Hispanic or Asian heritage.
Suggestions from many Republican governors, by contrast, were heavy with civil rights leaders, while many local officials pushed for a broader definition for what it means to be a hero.
When Denver-area Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas got the solicitation for nominations, “For me and my fellow commissioners, it was immediately a unanimous decision."