President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he would soon sign an executive order to strengthen existing laws against vandalizing monuments in light of numerous recent events by protesters and rioters to do so.
“I will have an executive order very shortly, and all it’s really going to do is reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way,” Trump said to reporters from the White House just before he left for a trip to Arizona.
Trump has commented in recent days about his dislike of protesters defacing and trying to topple monuments, beginning with Confederate officials like General Robert E. Lee but quickly moving on to Founding Fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Even Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s statue was toppled, although Grant led the fight against slavery during the Civil War.
Trump urged “long-term jail sentences” for protesters who spray-painted and tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House Monday night and others who tried to vandalize monuments, The Hill reported.
“Hoodlums and anarchists and agitators”
“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and the anarchists and agitators, and call them whatever you want,” Trump said. “Some people don’t like that language, but that’s what they are. 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.”
The Hill described the executive order as “largely symbolic” because it does not give stronger penalties for vandals or make any new laws.
In reality, what Trump will be saying with the order is that law enforcement is not to ignore the vandalism of the statues and to enforce existing laws.
Conservatives have been opposed to removing even Confederate statues because they represent a time in history that they don’t think the country should try to erase from existence.
A few weeks ago, I said that I didn’t think it was a big deal to remove statues of Lee if it would send the message that slavery was never acceptable. Now, I wasn’t talking about protesters removing the statues on their own, but elected officials having it done in an orderly way.
What I failed to realize, however, is that it’s not only Confederate statues the left wants to remove from the public arena, but any and all statues from America’s past.
Our nation had terrible flaws and slavery was one of them. But if these protesters would look into themselves for just a minute, they would see that flaws are part of every person and group and government that has ever existed. How a nation rights its wrongs is relevant.
Despite America’s flaws, it has been the greatest government that has ever existed in history in terms of encouraging and protecting freedom for its citizens. Unfortunately, the angry groups protesting against America may not be able to realize how good this country is until they have destroyed it, if they are able to do so.