I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue 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…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
President Trump reiterated comments sent via tweet early this morning in remarks to reporters about rioters who tear down the nation’s monuments.
“We are looking at long term jail sentences for these vandals, hoodlums, anarchists and agitators. Some people don’t like that language, but that’s what they are: Bad people. They don’t love our country, and they’re not taking down our monuments,” the President said.
“I just want that to be clear.”
Mr. Trump made the remarks from the White House as he was preparing to leave for Pheonix. The President said an executive order on the matter could be expected soon.
“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,” he said. “If the state governments, as you see them, all over, Seattle. They’re very weak. And in Minnesota, they might need help. If they need help, the federal government is willing to help them.”
Statues have been torn down – some by rioters, some by city and state governments – all over the country in recent weeks. Monuments have been targeted for their racially insensitivity. Last night police stopped protesters from tearing down a statue of President Andrew Jackson outside of the White House.
“Last night we stopped an attack on a great monument of Andrew Jackson and Lafayette Park,” Mr. Trump said. “Numerous people” are already in jail and more will be going “today,” he added.
President Trump considers himself a “fan” of Jackson.
Yesterday the Museum of Natural History in New York City announced that it was removing a statue of President Teddy Roosevelt which has stood outside of its entrance since 1940.
The statue of Roosevelt on horseback flanked by an African-American man and a Native American man symbolizes a painful history of racism and colonialism, activists say. Roosevelt is not the main target of the protester’s ire but the superiority they say the memorial depicts.
The “hierarchical composition” is the reason for the decision, Museum President Ellen V. Futter said.