[NFA] President Donald Trump on Tuesday pledged to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing U.S. historical monuments and threatened to use force on some protesters, as political activism against racial injustice sweeps the country.
“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals, for these hoodlums, these anarchists…They're not taking down our monuments." President Donald Trump on Tuesday pledged to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing U.S. historical monuments and threatened to use force on some protesters.
“Last night we stopped an attack on a great monument – the monument of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park – and I just want to thank law enforcement, they did a great job…Numerous people are in jail and going to jail today, people are already there, but we are looking at long-term sentences." Trump on Twitter announced an authorization "effective immediately” to arrest anyone who quote “vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison.”, even though the government already has that power under the 2003 Veterans Memorial Act.
Video showed demonstrators on Monday climbing on the bronze statue in Lafayette Square, and writing "racist scum" on its base in the latest bid to destroy images of historical figures considered racist.
Jackson, a onetime Army general, enslaved Black people and is remembered for the Trail of Tears, a forced removal of Native Americans from the South that killed thousands.
Police in riot gear, led by U.S Park Police, then moved in, swinging batons and firing chemical agents to drive back protesters.
Demonstrators on Monday also declared a Black House Autonomous Zone - referencing a Seattle area known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone - near the White House in front of St.
Trump on Tuesday tweeted "there will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President.
If they try they will be met with serious force!" That tweet was later flagged by Twitter for violating the company’s rules on abusive behavior.
Trump said he will issue an executive order on U.S. historical monuments very soon.