President Donald Trump on Tuesday said hes issued an executive order authorizing the federal government to arrest any person who vandalizes or destroys a monument or other federal property.
The wrongdoers will face up to 10 years in prison, Trump said in a social media statement.
“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” the president said.
Prosecutors can use the Veterans Memorial Preservation Act or other pertinent laws. The act, passed in 2003, says that people who willfully try or successfully injure or destroy any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating service in the armed forces of the United States shall be fined, imprisoned up to 10 years, or both.
“Numerous people are in jail, or are going to jail today,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Tuesday morning before leaving for Arizona.
“Were looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators. Call them whatever you want, some people dont like that language, but thats what they are. Theyre bad people. They dont love our country.”
The order reinforces existing law, Trump asserted.
Two people were arrested while U.S. Park Police prevented vandals from toppling a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House late Monday, a spokeswoman told The Epoch Times.
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt condemned those involved, describing them as anarchists and criminals.
The Lincoln and World War II memorials were previously defaced, he said.
“Across the country, some elected leaders of our cities have expressed enthusiasm and support for these criminals, exhibiting an undeniable unwillingness to protect law abiding citizens and their property,” he said on Twitter.
“We live in the greatest country in the world, and I thank our dedicated law enforcement officials who stand tall against these coordinated attacks and seek peace and justice for all.”
Vandals have torn down statues during protests in recent weeks, including memorials to Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Trump singled out the defacement of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a nonviolent Indian activist, and the takedown of a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, who played a major role in defeating the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Trump on Monday said whats happening is a disgrace.
“Remember, some of this is great artwork. This is magnificent artwork, as good as there is anywhere in the world, as good as you see in France, as good as you see anywhere. Its a disgrace. Most of these people dont even know what theyre taking down,” Trump said.
“We are going to do an executive order and were going to make the cities guard their monuments. This is a disgrace,” Trump added.
Trump was speaking to Eternal Word Television Network.
Cities most affected by protests, rioting, and looting are run by Democrats, the president noted.
“Its all Democrats, usually liberal Democrats. Take a look. Whether its Chicago, its Democrat, Seattle, its Democrat. The state of Washington. Its Democrat. Portland, its Democrat. All of these places are run by Democrats. Twenty out of 20 are Democrat-run. They dont know what theyre doing,” he said.
If former Vice President Joe Biden, thRead More From Source