Trump vows crackdown on monument vandalism

Trump vows crackdown on monument vandalism
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE on Tuesday morning threatened to assert a section of the U.S. code imposing penalties of up to 10 years in prison in response to defacement of statues on public property.

In the tweets, the president said he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S.” under the existing statute, which states anyone who “willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States [on federal property] shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”

“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 added.

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The tweets came the morning after Washington, D.C., police used tear gas to clear Lafayette Square of protesters who attempted to topple the park’s statue of President Jackson.

The seventh president is one of several U.S. historical figures whose legacy has come under scrutiny due to his role in the forcible removal of Native Americans from ancestral lands, with leftist historian Howard Zinn describing him as “the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history.”

Statues have been toppled or defaced at various protests around the country, including figures associated with the Confederacy, such as Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Va., as well as others associated more generally with racist policies and rhetoric, such as former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo (D) and various statues of Christopher Columbus.