Gov. Cuomo defends NYC Columbus statue

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The Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle is pictured. (Creative commons)

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he favors keeping a prominent Christopher Columbus statue that has been suggested for review by a commission examining items deemed “symbols of hate” on New York City property.

Cuomo said Monday he’s not disputing that the explorer did harm to indigenous people. But the Democratic governor and grandchildren of Italian immigrants says the statue at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle “is really about honoring Italian-Americans” and their contributions to New York.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the commission, which could recommend removing some monuments. Democratic City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has said the Columbus statue should be evaluated.

The Italian-American mayor hasn’t opined, saying he wants to let the commission work. He’s noted that statues could end up getting reviewed and remaining.

Mayor de Blasio says he’ll “definitely” march in New York City’s Columbus Day Parade despite a controversy over statues of the explorer.