On Tuesday morning, President Trump declared that a person caught vandalizing monuments or any other federal property can face up to 10 years in prison. This announcement follows an attempt to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square near the White House, as reported by Fox News.
This is also the second incident targeting the nearby St. John’s Church.
“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,” the president said on Twitter.
“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” he then added.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy also tweeted about the second attack on St. John’s Church. He says it is “a chilling message that faith and freedom are enemies in the eyes of the anarchists on the street.”
According to McCarthy, “perpetrators must be prosecuted. These senseless attacks must be stopped.”
Targets of Vandalism
Notable monuments were the targets of vandalism during protests following the death of George Floyd. The statues that were initially under fire were those of Confederate soldiers and generals. Also, people can find most of these in the South. The violence and anger later spread to other monuments.
The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act that Trump mentioned a punishment up to a decade in prison and a fine. This goes for whoever damages or attempts to damage “any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States.”
On Monday night, the president also said he will sign an executive order. This will protect public statues and monuments from destruction.