As protests against racial injustice have sparked the vandalism of several historical monuments across the U.S., President Donald Trump and many Republicans have called for swift action to stop the destructive acts.
In a press conference on Thursday, the House Freedom Caucus demanded that U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray apprehend and prosecute those involved in these property crimes, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who chairs the caucus, stood outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., when he emphasized the “necessity of federal intervention when states and local jurisdictions allow the rights of their citizens to be violated, the public property to be attacked, vandalized, and destroyed.”
“Immediately begin making arrests”
He went on to advise federal officials to “immediately begin making arrests of those who are attempting to violate rights and disturb our peace and vandalize our federal property and attacking our private property.”
Biggs’ concerns were echoed by another caucus member, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).
“You don’t have liberty if you don’t have order,” Roy said, asserting that it is “time for the federal government do its job and enforce the laws of the United States.”
The House Freedom Caucus posted a similar plea on Twitter this week, calling for Barr to use all the tools at his disposal, specifically “investigations, arrests, & prosecution,” to bring an end to the property damage.
“Federal laws on the books”
“Mob rule has no place in America,” the group tweeted.
After hinting in recent days that he would support invoking federal laws with penalties of up to 10 years behind bars for those convicted of such crimes, he followed up on Friday with an executive order specifically intended to protect historically significant monuments.
As Roy noted in his remarks, there are “federal laws on the books that prohibit the kind of vandalism that is attacking our memorials.”
It remains to be seen whether the public statements of the president and House Republicans will be met with action by Barr and Wray.
If demonstrations continue to result in toppled statues and vandalism, however, their position is likely to gain support among ordinary Americans.