President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order that will create financial consequences for cities and states that do not protect federal monuments from vandals who attempt to deface, remove, or destroy them, Fox News reported.
What’s this about? The president tweeted Friday about a “very strong” executive order calling for severe prison sentences for people who attack monuments. Protesters have been targeting statues of Confederate figures, people with ties to racism or slavery, and now even Founding Fathers and abolitionists.
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong executive order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues — and combatting recent criminal violence,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”
What does the order do? The executive order adds some positive and negative incentives for localities to enforce existing laws protecting federal monuments. In some cases, there seem to have been few or no consequences for mobs of protesters who take down monuments in public places. Fox News reported:
The new order enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration.
Protests and conflicts: Some of the protests around allegedly offensive monuments have been peaceful, but at times they devolve into conflicts with police officers who attempt to maintain order.
A protest in Richmond surrounding a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee over the weekend resulted in police officers being hit with paintballs and other objects and even reportedly having fireworks launched at them. Six people were arrested after the violence led police to declare the gathering unlawful.