President Trump will toss you in jail for up to 10 years if you deface or topple a statue on federal land. That’s what our commander-in-chief said on Twitter Tuesday morning.
Trump said he has authorized federal officials 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 Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act.”
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
Ever since George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by police on May 25, there have been calls to take down statues of Confederate icons, specifically Confederate States of America (CSA) leaders who perpetuated slavery.
“They’re not taking down our monuments,” Trump told reporters. “I just want to make that clear.”
What Trump Doesn’t Know
Trump has been adopting a harder line in his attempt to be our “Law and Order” President. But here’s the thing: federal officials don’t actually need his authorization to enforce the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act.
According to Military Times, the Act is “already existing regulation, and does not need any special authorization to be enforced.”
Signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003, the Act was initially a response to vandalism incidents that had occurred at veteran cemeteries. There was no discussion in Congress at the time of memorials to Confederate leaders.
On Monday, protesters attempted to knock down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House. The controversial president is thought to have owned 150 slaves at the time of his death. He is also responsible for the deaths of thousands of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears.
President Trump, who has expressed admiration for Andrew Jackson, told reporters on Tuesday that quite a few people are already in jail for trying to topple the statue. Trump said the federal government is “looking at long-term sentences.” Learn more in the video below.