Donald Trump Says He Authorized Federal Arrests for Anyone Who 'Vandalizes or Destroys' Statues

In the midst of the anti-racism protests going on across the country, there has been renewed scrutiny regarding various Confederate and controversial monuments and statues that are up in several states. Many of those very monuments have been taken down by protesters, while others, like the Theodore Roosevelt statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, are set to be officially taken down by their respective local governments. Now, President Donald Trump has weighed in on this matter on Twitter. On Tuesday, he wrote that he will be authorizing federal arrests for anyone who "vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property" in the United States.

Trump wrote on Twitter that he has authorized the federal government to arrest those who destroy or vandalize any of these controversial monuments or statues. He shared that the consequence of doing so would be up to 10 years in prison, and cited the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act ("or such other laws") as the act that these individuals would be violating. In a subsequent tweet, the president said that this action is being implemented "effective immediately" and claimed that it could be used "retroactively" for those who have already vandalized any monuments. He ended his message by writing that there would be no exceptions in this matter.

Given the president's previous comments regarding protesters in the country, it's not wholly surprising to see that he is taking such a big stance when it comes to those who are vandalizing or destroying any statues across the nation. On June 1, Trump addressed the nation in light of the protests going on in response to George Floyd's murder. At the time, he shared that he would be implementing a federal response to these "riots" if states are not able to get them under control.

In his speech, the president threatened to invoke the use of the United States military if states are not able to get those protests under control. "I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson," Trump said at the time. He went on to say that he has ordered "an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled," and threatened to "deploy the United States military, and quickly solve the problem for them."