President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday to protect the country's historical memorials and monuments from vandalism.
Since the death of George Floyd, rioters have unleashed their anger by destroying the statues of men who represent American history such as President George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and President Ulysses S. Grant.
The order reinforces laws that criminalize the destruction of public monuments, vandalism toward religious property, and will withhold federal support from state and local agencies that fail to stop the desecration.
"Under this Order, the Federal Government is directed to prosecute any person or entity that damages or defaces religious property and withhold certain Federal support from State and local governments that fail to protect public monuments, memorials, and statues from destruction or vandalism," the order states.
Trump's announcement comes as protesters tried to tear down a monument of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, in a park located near the White House before police stopped them.
Besides the Jackson statue, additional acts of vandalism have occurred at St. John's Church, also across the street from the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.
The president tweeted that vandals would be subject to periods of imprisonment for committing such acts of violence against our country.
"I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!"
I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also weighed in, stating, "Over the last 5 weeks, there has been a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians, law enforcement officers, government property, and revered American monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial. Today, President Donald J. Trump took decisive action to put an end to this lawlessness and protect American streets from vandalism and mob violence."
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