Flashback: Critics dismissed Trump's warning that cancel culture would come for Washington, Jefferson

San Francisco committee looks to change ‘problematic’ school names

Fox News correspondent Claudia Cowan joins ‘Special Report’ with the latest from the Bay Area

American icons like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are on the chopping block in San Francisco after the city’s public school board voted to remove their names from its buildings, a move former President Donald Trump warned would happen while he was in office. 

Other prominent Americans whose names are set to be removed from school buildings include Abraham Lincoln, Paul Revere, Francis Scott Key, Herbert Hoover, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., according to local reports. 

School staff and families have until April to suggest new names for the schools.

Following deadly clashes in Charlottesville in August 2017, Trump sounded the alarm amid a debate over removing Confederate statues, suggesting it would become a slippery slope and that the Founding Fathers would be targeted next. 

“So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down … I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” Trump said during a fiery press conference.

At the time, Trump faced heavy pushback from critics who assumed that the president was way over his skis. 

The New York Times published a piece, “Historians Question Trump’s Comments on Confederate Monuments,” which quoted experts who cast doubt in Trump’s comments about the removal of Washington and Jefferson statues. One of them called the warning a “red herring,” writing “There have been, after all, no calls to tear down the Washington Monument.” Another historian simply stated “no.” NPR and The Atlantic similarly asked historians who also rejected the warning. 

NBC News went even further, running the headline, “Statues of Washington, Jefferson Aren’t ‘Next,’ But It’s Complicated, Historians Say.”

“Trump has posited that the statues of Founding Fathers could come down following the removal of Confederate symbols across the country. Historians say he’s wrong,” NBC News reported. 


Slate also ran a story, “Removing Confederate Memorials Doesn’t Mean Washington and Jefferson Are Next.”

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver mocked the president’s prediction on his HBO show. 

“I’ll tell you where it stops: Somewhere!” Oliver exclaimed. “Any time someone asks, where does it stop, the answer’s always … somewhere. You might let your kid have Twizzlers, but not inject black tar heroin. You don’t just go, ‘Well, after the Twizzlers, where does it stop?'”


Statues of Washington and Jefferson along with other historical figures, such as Christopher Columbus and former President Ulysses S. Grant, were torn down last year by Black Lives Matter rioters following the death of George Floyd. 

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report. 

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