Author Marianne Williamson pledged Monday to remove a portrait of President Andrew Jackson from the Oval Office if elected president, calling the portrait’s current placement “one of the greatest insults” to Native Americans.
“We will begin by taking that picture of Andrew Jackson off the wall of the Oval Office,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told the Native American audience at the Frank LaMere Presidential Candidate Forum. “I am not a Native American woman, but I find it one of the greatest insults. You will not be insulted. You will be more than not insulted. If I am President of the United States, there will be a level of atonement, there will be a level of making amends.”
Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, long garnered praise as the son of immigrants who was elected to the highest office in the land after fighting in the War of 1812. But he also had harsh anti-Native American policies, including the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The act eventually led to the forced relocation of Native Americans from their native Georgia to Oklahoma, killing thousands of Cherokees along what became known as the Trail of Tears.
Jackson has long been one of President Donald Trump’s favorite presidents. Trump told NBC News in 2016, “Andrew Jackson had a great history” of “tremendous success for the country.” He dismissed a move to replace the controversial president on the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman as “pure political correctness.”
For her part, Williamson reiterated her pledge after her remarks, telling reporters anyone with “just a base level of knowledge of American history” should be familiar with Jackson’s role in the Trail of Tears.
“It is one of the great shames, the great pockmarks on the heart of the psyche of American history,” Williamson said. “This is not a president who should be shown the honor of his portrait hanging in the Oval Office.”