An effort to change Columbus Day with a holiday commemorating Juneteenth was criticized by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
The Washington Examiner reports Carlson described the effort, being led by Republican Senators Ron Johnson and James Lankford, as giving in to “hysteria.”
He also said it is “likely just another way to humiliate and demoralize Americans.”
Carlson said the senators “want to delete it from the national calendar and replace it with Juneteenth. This is a big change. Americans have celebrated Columbus Day as long as we have had a country, since 1792.”
“Columbus Day is a celebration of the nation itself. That’s why it’s a national holiday,” he added via the report.
The decision to change the holiday comes as the nation is grappling with race relations following the killing of 46-year-old black man George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
“Juneteenth commemorates the freeing of the American slaves. Emancipation is one of the great moments in America’s history. It’s why we consider Abraham Lincoln a hero,” Carlson explained. “But paradoxically, and this is odd, the people who are pushing Juneteenth on the country do not consider Abraham Lincoln a hero. They are pulling down the statues along with Columbus’s. Confused? That’s the nature of hysteria outbreak.”
The Washington Examiner adds:
The host also claimed that “it may not be long before” Johnson and Lankford support tearing down statues of former President George Washington. He predicted that other holidays “they” will be “canceling” include the Fourth of July and Presidents’ Day.
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Black Independence Day, is recognized as a holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia on June 19. The date marks the anniversary of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announcing the end of the Civil War and of slavery in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.
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According to the report, Johnson said the country should not just add another federal holiday as it would increase paid leave to workers. Instead, the legislature should replace a current holiday with one commemorating emancipation.
“In response to a bipartisan effort to give federal workers another day of paid leave by designating Juneteenth a federal holiday, we have offered a counterproposal that does not put us further in debt,” Johnson said in a statement. “We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.”