After weeks of largely peaceful protests, the nation’s capital turned ornery on Monday, as demonstrators took to the streets with a renewed fervor.
There didn’t seem to be any impetus for this sudden escalation in rhetoric and tactics, but the images that were coming out of Washington DC last night were stark, to say the least.
Anti-racism protesters tried to pull down a monument of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, in a park near the White House before police intervened. https://t.co/oy3z685A61 pic.twitter.com/jXptDZCHKW
— ABC News (@ABC) June 23, 2020
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020
On Tuesday, President Trump addressed the protests and the vandalism, and made a sincere and bold threat against those who would attempt to tear down or deface these statues.
President Trump declared Tuesday morning that anyone caught vandalizing monuments or any other federal property can be subject to arrest and face up to 10 years in prison.
The president’s latest statement follows an attempt to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square near the White House Monday night, a second incident targeting the nearby St. John’s Church, and prior vandalism of the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial.
“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 tweeted. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
Just days ago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City announced that it would be removing a statue featuring President Theodore Roosevelt over its depiction of African American and Native American people. The President used Twitter to implore the institution not to go through with the plan.
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