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Trump Threatens 10-Year Prison Term for Vandalizing or Destroying Federal Statues and Monuments

The announcement comes after several monuments — especially of Confederate leaders — have been defaced or toppled

President Trump vowed Tuesday to personally intervene and prevent the destruction of historical statues amid ongoing unrest over systemic racism in America.

“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. This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” he wrote on Twitter.

On Monday, he tweeted something similar.

“Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!” he wrote.

Also on Monday, the president alluded to a forthcoming executive order intended to “make the cities guard their monuments.”

The statements from Trump come as protesters topple statues across the country — especially of Confederate leaders — and institutions do away with their own statues in light of new thinking. It was announced over the weekend that New York City’s Museum of Natural History will be getting rid of its own Theodore Roosevelt statue, which has faced years of criticism for being racist.

The movement has extended abroad, with protestors in Bristol, England toppling a statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston and tossing it in the river in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.