President Trump on Sunday said agitators shouldn’t even think about trying to topple several of Washington, D.C.’s highest-profile monuments and statues.
“No, Radical Left anarchists, agitators, looters or protesters will not be knocking down or harming the Washington Monument, the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials, or just about any other Federal Monument or Statue,” the president said on Twitter. “If they even try, an automatic 10 years in prison. Sorry!”
Mr. Trump has vocally defended statues and monuments that have been torn down or vandalized in recent weeks by protesters.
Some protesters have targeted statues honoring former Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee, but others have demanded that monuments dedicated to historical figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson be taken down as well because of the former presidents’ ties to slavery.
The Justice Department last month announced that four men were charged with destruction of federal property after allegedly trying to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House.
The president has cited the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act as one possible legal avenue to pursue to punish people who try to tear down or deface the monuments.
The 2003 law includes a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for people who try to destroy monuments on public property that commemorate the service of someone in the U.S. armed forces.
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