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Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez describes Christopher Columbus as a 'genocidal maniac' on Columbus Day

Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

On the annual Columbus Day federal holiday, Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York described the Italian explorer as "a genocidal maniac."

"Today should just be #IndigenousPeopleDay. And yet this day is still shared with a genocidal maniac. We need to take this time to reflect on the brutal history of violence against Indigenous peoples in America and recognize that there is still a lot of work to repair this harm," the congresswoman's tweet declared.

President Joe Biden put forward the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, and he also issued a proclamation of Columbus Day.

Legislation has been proposed to officially change Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples' Day.

The president's Columbus Day proclamation says, "We also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities."

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York tweeted: "Millions of indigenous people lost their lives during the genocide committed against them in the Americas. Today we pause in solemn recognition of this human tragedy. And recommit to uplift the original occupants of this land."

But there were Republican lawmakers who made a point of marking Columbus Day.

"Today is #ColumbusDay, and nobody can rewrite history to say otherwise," tweeted Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

"Happy Columbus Day, yes, I said Columbus Day, like the way we've all been saying it before America went woke. Stop whitewashing history!" GOP Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida declared.

"It's Columbus Day," Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina tweeted.

"Columbus's legacy is embodied in the spirit of our nation. Happy Columbus Day!" tweeted GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.

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