Britain takes new look at colonial history as statues fall
President Donald Trump earlier mentioned the sailor in his speech to mark the 4 July holiday, when Americans typically celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.
"Together we will fight for the American dream, and we will defend, protect, and preserve American way of life which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America," he said in an address in which he railed against protesters demanding racial justice.
"We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing," he said.
"We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children".
The president last month signed an executive order pledging to enforce prosecution for protesters who vandalise public memorials, promising "long prison terms" for "lawless acts against our Great Country!"
A statue of Columbus was taken down in San Francisco last month because the explorer's actions "do not deserve to be venerated," city officials said, and another was removed from California's state capital Sacramento.
Elsewhere, a statue of Belgium's King Leopold II - who ruled over a brutal regime in Africa - was removed in the port city of Antwerp and a monument to slave trader Edward Colston was ripped down in Bristol in the United Kingdom.