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Trump Promises Ten Year Prison Sentences For Vandalism Of Statues

President Trump promised to sign an executive order that would prosecute vandals of statues with prison sentences of up to ten years.

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(TMU) – US President Donald Trump promised to sign an executive order that would prosecute vandals of statues with prison sentences of up to ten years.

This threat comes after weeks of intense protests around the country and out front of the White House, which has left many national monuments defaced or removed.

The night before Trump made his announcement, police clashed with protesters who were attempting to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson outside of the White House.

Before police used tear gas to force everyone out of Lafayette Park on Monday night, protesters had climbed on top of the statue of Jackson and began to tie ropes around it in an attempt to bring it down. The base had the word “killer” spray-painted across it.

In a press conference Tuesday, Trump confirmed earlier Tweets where he suggested prosecuting vandals of statues. 

“Last night we stopped an attack on a great monument of Andrew Jackson and Lafayette Park. We are looking at long term jail sentences for these vandals, hoodlums, anarchists and agitators. Some people don’t like that language, but that’s what they are: Bad people. They don’t love our country, and they’re not taking down our monuments,” Trump said.

I will have an executive order very shortly. And all it’s really going to do is reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way. If the state governments, as you see them, all over, Seattle. They’re very weak. And in Minnesota, they might need help. If they need help, the federal government is willing to help them,” he added.

Trump said that that “numerous people” are already in jail after being arrested last night and promised that many more are going “today.” Trump added that he was a “fan” of Jackson, who was a slave owner and enthusiastic participant in the genocide of the Native American people. Jackson’s historical record has become so controversial that in recent years there have been calls to remove his face from the $20 bill and have it replaced with an image of Underground Railroad hero Harriet Tubman.

In tweets before the press conference, Trump said that he “authorized” the federal government to “arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S.” He even claimed that these terms would apply retroactively, to anyone previously found damaging statues.

Trump said that violators could be charged under the Veterans Memorial Preservation or “such other laws that may be pertinent.”

One section of the act states that a person who willfully injures or destroys veteran memorials or attempts to do so shall be fined and/or imprisoned no more than 10 years.

However, not all of the monuments that have been targeted would be considered war memorials. Furthermore, many of the military statues that are being taken down represent members of the confederacy, which was technically not a part of the US government.

This technicality could be a compelling defense for any protesters who are charged under this law for vandalizing Confederate statutes.

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