A Republican from Florida celebrated Columbus Day by declaring Christopher Columbus as a founding father of the United States.

Gov. Ron DeSantis used the national holiday, which 23rd President Benjamin Harrison (R) announced in 1892, to commend the Italian-born explorer.

“Columbus stands a singular figure in Western civilization who exemplified courage, risk-taking and heroism in the face of enormous odds,” DeSantis said in a statement. “[He w]as a visionary who saw the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe, and [w]as a founding father who laid the foundation for what would one day become the United States of America–which would commemorate Columbus by naming its federal district after him.”

The governor described Columbus’s origins and how he extolled the Italian-American community of 17 million.

“[It is] a community whose warmth, generosity, patriotism and love of family have made those characteristics even greater components of the overall American culture and way of life,” he said in the statement.

The Republican criticized anyone who tries to “defame” Columbus or “erase” the national holiday.

“[Their] mission [is] to portray the United States and Western history in a negative light, as they seek to blame our country and its values for all that is evil in the world, rather than see it as the force for good,” he said.

Many leftist movements that promote racial equality identify Columbus’s arrival as the beginning of violence against indigenous people, and exploitation of black people.

These groups reject the celebration and want to replace it with violent protests in a so-called day of “rage.”

There are several accounts of others who discovered America prior to Columbus, including the Chinese. However, Columbus enriched the culture of those who call the United States home.

Columbus arrived at the island of Guarani, in the Bahamas archipelago on Oct. 12, 1492. He established first contact between Europeans and native Americans, who at the time were called Indians since he believed he had reached India.

The event is celebrated in other countries too. It is also known as “Día de la Raza,” “Día del Encuentro de Dos Mundos,” “Día de las Américas,” and “Día de la Hispanidad.”

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