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#Trump authorizes feds to arrest people vandalizing, taking down monuments

#Trump authorizes feds to arrest people vandalizing, taking down monuments

June 23, 2020 | 9:11am | Updated June 23, 2020 | 9:22am

President Trump has authorized federal law enforcement officials to arrest anyone caught vandalizing or tearing down monuments amid a wave of confederate and other statues being toppled by people protesting racial injustice.

The commander-in-chief wrote in a tweet early Tuesday morning, “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.”

Trump warned those protesting that the order will be “effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”

The decision comes as monuments of historic figures across the country and cities abroad have been targeted during the civil unrest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

Officials across the country have promised to reevaluate their monuments, in some cases pledging to take them down outright. Despite this, some protesters have taken it upon themselves to either severely vandalize or tear down statues they consider controversial.

Speaking to Fox News Tuesday morning, President Trump discussed his thoughts on the matter, denouncing those who were attacking the statues.

People stand around the statue of Confederate general Albert Pike after it was toppled by protesters at Judiciary square in Washington, DC.
People stand around the statue of Confederate general Albert Pike after it was toppled by protesters at Judiciary square in Washington, DC.AFP via Getty Images

“I don’t like it at all, I don’t like it at all. I don’t like anything that’s going on. Now federal I’ve stopped, I’ve stopped federal. But the states are — a lot of states are weak, a lot of people are weak, and they’re allowing it to happen,” the president told the network in an Oval Office interview.

Trump went on to rail against efforts to take down the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Ulysses S. Grant, specifically.

“You have to understand history, you have to understand the culture and so many other aspects of our country,” Trump added, “And people can study [slavery] and they can hate it, and let’s all hate it, but you can’t take down George Washington’s statue. And half of our country is named after Washington. We have to remember the heritage- the culture of our country.”

Speaking to Fox News Monday evening, the commander-in-chief pledged to sign an executive order on the matter, which would force cities to guard the monuments.

“You see Ulysses S. Grant, where they want to take him down. He’s the one that stopped the ones that everybody dislikes so much. It’s a disgrace. Also, remember, some of this is great artwork, this is magnificent artwork, as good as there is anywhere in the world. As good as you see in France. As good as you see anywhere. It’s a disgrace,” he told the network.

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