Biden's National Park Service buckles under public pressure, reverses course on plan to demolish historic William Penn statue in Philadelphia

 January 10, 2024

The progressive left, as part of its ceaseless efforts to undermine American culture and tradition, has increasingly sought to remove and destroy statues memorializing prominent figures in our nation's history.

The latest target was William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but plans to remove a statue of him from a national park in Philadelphia were swiftly withdrawn following immediate and intense public backlash, according to the Daily Wire.

That removal effort aimed at Penn -- a staunch anti-slavery abolitionist who supported democracy, religious freedom, and peaceful coexistence with the local native tribes -- seemingly proved accurate the prior Republican warnings that the left's statute removal efforts were never just about taking down monuments to the Confederacy or demolishing memorials for slave-owning founding figures.

William Penn's statue in the crosshairs

On Friday, President Joe Biden's National Park Service proudly announced its proposal to "rehabilitate" Welcome Park in Philadelphia, which was named in honor of William Penn's ship and featured a large statue of Penn and a replica of his famed and historic "Slate Roof House" that served as his residence when the British Quaker first colonized the area that eventually became known as Pennsylvania.

As part of the NPS park rehabilitation plans, "The Penn statue and Slate Roof house model will be removed and not reinstalled. In a separate and future effort, new exhibit panels will be installed on the south site wall to replace the Penn timeline" -- or, in other words, to completely write Penn out of the picture.

In place of the statue and historic home would be an "expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia" created in conjunction with descendants of the native tribes that populated the area at the time, to make the park "a more welcoming, accurate, and inclusive experience for visitors."

NPS quickly backtracks amid immense outcry

That Friday announcement also served to open a 14-day public comment period on the Welcome Park rehabilitation proposal, but those two weeks proved unnecessary as the public blowback was so swift and severe that the NPS completely reversed course and abandoned the plan just a couple of days later.

In a Monday press release, the NPS said it had "withdrawn the review of a draft proposal to rehabilitate Welcome Park and closed the public comment period."

"The preliminary draft proposal, which was released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review, is being retracted," the new release added. "No changes to the William Penn statue are planned."

That retraction was heralded by Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, who said in an X post, "My team has been in contact with the Biden Administration throughout the day to correct this decision. I’m pleased Welcome Park will remain the rightful home of this William Penn statue -- right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Penn founded."

"They only stopped because they got caught"

Not everybody believed the NPS' retraction was made in good faith, however, as summed up by one particular respondent to Gov. Shapiro's post, who explained that "the only reason why this decision was stopped is because the public got wind of it and became rightfully outraged. If the public did not speak up, William Penn’s statue would’ve been cancelled just as Jefferson & Washington have."

Likewise, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said of the sudden reversal amid the sharp public outcry, "Make no mistake: the Biden Administration tried to tear down a statue of William Penn as part of its toxic obsession with 'equity.' They only stopped because they got caught."

As for how the whole developing situation reflects on the prescient warnings from the right over the past few years that the left had more in mind than merely toppling old Confederate statues, that was efficiently summarized by patriotic entrepreneur Michael Seifert.

In an X post on Monday, Seifert wrote, "It started with Confederate statues. Now they've arrived at William Penn. It doesn't matter that he supported religious freedom, opposed slavery, and treated Native Americans with respect. It was always about replacing the history of the United States."

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