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Biden admin reverses decision to remove William Penn statue from park commemorating founding of Pennsylvania

William Penn's statue in a Philadelphia park will remain, the National Park Service said Monday night, retracting a proposal announced just days earlier.

The National Park Service has withdrawn plans to remove a statue of William Penn from a Philadelphia park commemorating his founding of Pennsylvania, situated at his former home.

The preliminary draft proposal for the "rehabilitation" of Welcome Park "was released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review," NPS announced Monday evening. 

"No changes to the William Penn statue are planned," a news release said. The park service never explained the reason for the impetus to remove the statue.

The plan, announced Friday, also involved expanding the telling of Philadelphia's Native American history and fixing up the park. It faced a torrent of criticism, receiving more than 2,600 comments on a social media post calling for public comment to be submitted over a 2-week period on a dedicated website.

BIDEN ADMIN REMOVING WILLIAM PENN STATUE IN 'REHABILITATION' OF PARK COMMEMORATING FOUNDING OF PENNSYLVANIA

"Good! Now please fire whoever came up with this idea," one X user, the platform formerly known as Twitter, wrote in response to the update by Independence National Historic Park.

"Thank you for doing the right thing," another chimed in.

CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY TO BE REMOVED DESPITE GOP OPPOSITION

The park is named for the ship, Welcome, which Penn took to Philadelphia in 1682. The park was established 300 years later, and is located just blocks from the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center.

Pennsylvania's top Republican state House member, Rep. Bryan Cutler, had accused President Biden of trying to "cancel" William Penn. In a statement, Cutler called it "another sad example of the left in this country scraping the bottom of the barrel of wokeism to advance an extreme ideology and a nonsensical view of history."

Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, meanwhile, took credit for the park service's reversal, saying in a statement that "my team has been in contact with the Biden Administration throughout the day to correct this decision."

With the proposal being withdrawn, Independence National Historical Park has closed the public comment period until a new proposal is issued.

"The National Park Service (NPS) remains committed to rehabilitating Welcome Park as the nation prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026," NPS said in Monday's release. "Upon completion of all the necessary internal reviews, the park looks forward to engaging in a robust public process to consider options for refurbishing the park in the coming years."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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