President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his warning that those who destroy US monuments on federal property would be arrested and face jail time, hours after protesters tried to topple a statue of former president Andrew Jackson near the White House.
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.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
Trump’s warning on Twitter comes as a growing swath of such statues, many paying homage to the rebel Confederacy from the nation’s Civil War-era, have been targeted amid weeks of protests over racism and policing.
Protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House Monday night before being dispersed by police.
WUSA-TV in Washington reported that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located. Videos posted on social media showed that the protesters had climbed on the statue and tied ropes around it, then tried to pull it off its pedestal.
The statue shows Jackson in a military uniform, riding a horse that is rearing on its hind legs. The 19th century president’s treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the US’ legacy of racial injustice.