Trump says he’s signed executive order protecting monuments
President Trump said Friday that he has signed a “very strong” executive order aimed at protecting federal monuments and statues from vandalism amid the ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality.
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.
I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
The White House has not released details on the executive order. Trump said earlier this week he was preparing such an order after efforts to topple a federal statue near the White House in Washington, D.C. At the time, Trump said the order would reinforce existing law.
The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act passed in 2003 already allows for authorities to impose fines and a prison sentence of up to a decade for “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.”
Trump told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that the executive order would “consolidate various things.”
Trump has taken aim at protesters who tried Monday to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, which is across the street from the White House. The National Guard has since been activated in D.C. to protect federal monuments.
Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in a town hall that aired Thursday that protesters who deface or take down statues or monuments would likely face “retribution.”
Trump has also opposed efforts to rename military bases honoring Confederate leaders, the subject of renewed debate amid domestic unrest following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in police custody.
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