President Donald Trump announced late Friday that his administration would be enforcing federal provisions demanding that cities and states protect monuments paid for by the federal government and threatening those who pull down monuments with “long prison time.”
Trump tweeted about the executive order on Saturday, calling it a “strong” response to efforts, across the country, to pull down monuments deemed “racist” or “controversial.”
“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!” Trump tweeted.
Desecrating federal monuments is already illegal, but the executive order adds some wrinkles to existing law, including providing cities and states with additional funding and support to protect targeted monuments, and threatening those municipalities that fail to keep protesters from felling statues with a loss of federal funding.
“The new order enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration,” Fox News reported Saturday.