Disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday published a Columbus Day column at The Hill in which he attacked “PC nitwits” for not knowing the true history of Christopher Columbus — and then insisted that “both sides” were to blame for European brutality against indigenous people in the Caribbean.
First, O’Reilly rails against efforts to rename Columbus Day as “Indigenous People Day” by claiming that not all indigenous people are worthy of being honored by a holiday.
“Yes, some native tribes were enlightened societies but many were not,” O’Reilly writes. “After inter-indigenous battles, torture and enslavement were often on the menu for the losers.”
O’Reilly then moves on to how Columbus and his fellow Spanish explorers treated indigenous people by using the same rhetoric President Donald Trump used when talking about white nationalist violence in Charlottesville this past summer — that is, he blamed “both sides” for violence that occurred.
“Along the way, Columbus ran into some Indian tribes, most notably the Caribes,” O’Reilly writes. “They did not like Chris and his malodorous European crews. Strife broke out and some bad stuff went down on both sides.”
O’Reilly does concede that it was “not good” that Columbus established slavery in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but he says that we should not see enslaving people as a major blight on his record.
“That was a minor part of the ‘Columbus business,’ as Hollywood would have put it if they were wooing him for a three picture deal,” he write. “Mostly, Columbus was a brilliant navigator who opened up the world for travel. No small achievement.”
O’Reilly concludes his column by stating that if we allow Columbus’ legacy to be tarnished by his support of slavery, then it will inevitably tarnish the legacies of American icons such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as well.
“The legacy of America is in big trouble,” he concludes.