WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he’ll issue an executive order to protect monuments that are coming under new scrutiny as America wrestles with racism during the unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.
Trump has been clear that he opposes the removal of monuments of leaders of the Confederacy or other distasteful aspects of American history.
Commenting as he departed the White House for a trip to Arizona, Trump said, “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.”
At a time of nationwide protests over racial injustice and inequality, Trump has aligned himself squarely on the side of those who argue that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of eliminating reminders of hated aspects of American history.
Trump had tweeted late Monday that those who tried to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House faced 10 years in prison under the Veterans Memorial Preservation Act.
“Beware,” he tweeted.
Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
The federal statute Trump cites subjects anyone who willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue or another monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States to fines, up to 10 years imprisonment or both.
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