DHS deploying new task force to protect monuments ahead of July 4

DHS deploying new task force to protect monuments ahead of July 4
© Greg Nash

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be deploying special units nationwide to protect monuments over the July 4 weekend, as the Trump administration continues its hardline stance on protesters.

“The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend has the potential for increased disruptive activity at specific locations across the country that could threaten our personnel and the Federal facilities and property they protect,” acting DHS Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfPence addresses 16 new citizens at pre-Independence Day naturalization ceremony Arizona reports record number of new coronavirus cases, deaths DHS deploying new task force to protect monuments ahead of July 4 MORE said in a memo that was obtained by Fox News. “DHS will be forward leaning in preparing to protect federal facilities and property.”

Per the memo, Rapid Deployment Teams from the Protecting American Communities Task Force will be deployed to Portland, Ore., Seattle and Washington, D.C.

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This intention to ramp up security around federal monuments comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE on Friday signed an executive order that underscores federal laws that already exist against vandalizing federal property. The order also said that DHS "shall provide, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, personnel to assist with the protection of Federal monuments, memorials, statues, or property.”

Trump reiterated his stance on the issue Wednesday morning, tweeting: "My Executive Order to protect Monuments, Statues etc., IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. In excess of a 10 year prison term. Please do not put yourself in jeopardy. Many people now under arrest!"

Protests have engulfed the nation since George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody May 25. In recent weeks, protesters have toppled numerous statues of Confederate soldiers and generals. In D.C. last week, protesters butted heads with police as they attempted to topple the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House.