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Radio host and "Saturday Night Live" alum Joe Piscopo fired back at those who see New York's Christopher Columbus statue as a symbol of oppression and want it taken down.

Piscopo, a Passaic, N.J. native who often played fellow Italian-American New Jerseyan Frank Sinatra on "SNL", said he and many people he knows are "proud Italian-Americans."

He recalled how his grandparents came over from Italy and instilled in him a love for their new country.

"This is America. Learn it, live it," he said. "They worked so hard - they've been prejudiced against."

To those who say that Columbus is flawed for his recorded treatment of Native Americans, Piscopo remarked that "we're all flawed - in New Jersey, I have a child at every [Parkway] exit."

He said that in addition to being an affront to Italian-Americans, who he noted joined the Germans Irish and others in building 19th Century New York, the Columbus Circle statue was erected in memory of a lynching.

Piscopo said the statue that sits outside CNN headquarters and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel was built after about a dozen Italian-Americans were executed in New Orleans after they were accused as a bloc of killing a public official.

He added that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who is of German and Italian ancestry, should be ashamed of the outcry because "he has a vowel at the end of his name."

Just north of New York City, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) said he is searching for suspects in the beheading of a Columbus bust in Yonkers, N.Y.


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