The destruction of America’s monuments will not be tolerated, President Donald Trump warned this week — and those who don’t heed his warning could face arrest.
According to the New York Post, Trump announced Tuesday that he would sign an executive order to prosecute vandals as left-wing mobs continue to target statues of American icons all over the country.
“Long-term jail sentences”
The president made the threat after protesters attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, just outside the White House.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statute, or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted, according to the Post.
The effort to topple Jackson comes amid anti-racism protests that have come in the wake of the late May death of 46-year-old George Floyd in police custody, the Post notes, but the demonstrations have in many cases turned into violent riots involving vandalism and looting. Trump, for his part, has condemned the vandalism as an attack on America’s heritage, and on Monday he said he would sign an executive order forcing cities to defend their statues.
Trump followed that up with his Tuesday threats of an executive order to prosecute those responsible for the destruction, USA Today reported.
“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators,” Trump told reporters, according to USA Today. “They’re bad people, they don’t love our country, and they’re not taking down our monuments, I just want to make that clear.”
Vandals attack American icons
But it’s not just D.C. that has been hit by vandals. Weeks after Trump came under fire for defending Army bases named after Confederate generals, and three years after Trump was ridiculed for predicting attacks on statues of Washington and Jefferson, monuments of abolitionists and America’s greatest presidents are being torn down across the country in a fit of revolutionary rage.
In Portland, Oregon, vandals destroyed a statue of George Washington and draped a burning flag over it, according to Fox News, and protesters in San Francisco toppled a monument to Ulysses S. Grant.
“I don’t like it at all, I don’t like it at all. I don’t like anything that’s going on,” the president told Fox on Tuesday, according to the New York Post. “Now federal, I’ve stopped — I’ve stopped federal. But the states are — a lot of states are weak, a lot of people are weak, and they’re allowing it to happen.”
Meanwhile, 400 members of the D.C. National Guard are said to have been activated to protect monuments in the nation’s capital, according to Fox. Trump simply won’t stand for the destruction.