Trump to issue executive order to arrest those who deface, remove federal statues, 'no exceptions!'

'They are not taking over,' Trump said of protesters who are destroying federal monuments

Updated: June 23, 2020 - 2:57pm

President Trump said Tuesday he will issue an executive order authorizing federal authorities to arrest anybody who vandalizes or destroys any federal monument or statue in the U.S.

The president made the announcement on Twitter the morning after protesters outside of the White House tried to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square park. 

After making the announcement, Trump told reporters before leaving for Arizona, "A number of people are in jail and going to jail. We're looking at long-term jail sentences for those vandals ... . They are not taking over."

He said the executive order strengths existing law "in a more uniformed way." 

The failed effort, in which several protesters were reportedly arrested, was just the latest in attempts by protesters to remove statues in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, which has sparked a wave of activism about statues that some perceive as memorials to the country’s segregated past.

Last week, protesters in Portland, Washington, burned and pulled down a statue on George Washington. 

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