Opinion / Politics

Trump Authorizes Federal Government to Arrest Anyone Who Vandalizes, Destroys Statues

trumpPresident Donald Trump on Tuesday said he’s authorized the federal government to arrest any person who vandalizes or destroys a monument or other federal property.

The wrongdoers will face up to 10 years in prison, Trump said in a social media statement.

“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” the president said.

Prosecutors can use the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act or other pertinent laws. The act, passed in 2003, says that people who willfully try or successfully injure or destroy any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating service in the armed forces of the United States shall be fined, imprisoned up to 10 years, or both.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt late Monday condemned anarchists and others behind the violence seen in cities across the nation, calling the people who tried toppling a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House criminals.

The Lincoln and World War II memorials were previously defaced, he said.

“Across the country, some elected leaders of our cities have expressed enthusiasm and support for these criminals, exhibiting an undeniable unwillingness to protect law abiding citizens and their property,” he said on Twitter.

“We live in the greatest country in the world, and I thank our dedicated law enforcement officials who stand tall against these coordinated attacks and seek peace and justice for all.”

Executive Order

Trump’s announcement came hours after he said he was planning to issue an executive order that would force cities to guard statues and other monuments.

“It’s a disgrace. 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. Most of these people don’t even know what they’re taking down,” Trump said.

Reprinted with Permission from - Epoch Times by - Zachary Stieber

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