Trump signs monument protection order
by Seth Johnson
Posted 6/29/20, 06:41 pm
State and local law enforcement agencies could lose federal money if they don’t protect historic monuments under an executive order President Donald Trump issued on Friday. The order also instructs the U.S. attorney general to prosecute those who vandalize federal government property to the fullest extent of the law. Some violations can carry a penalty of up to 10 years of imprisonment. For at least the next six months, the Department of the Interior can request help from the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the attorney general’s office in protecting the monuments.
Does this mean monuments will stay? The order could lead local jurisdictions to step up their protection of historic memorials and statues from rioters. It might not stop local and state governments from voting to remove monuments peaceably. As communities across the nation engage in racially charged debates about historic symbols, Trump inflamed his detractors over the weekend by retweeting a video that included a supporter chanting “white power” in the background. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only African American Republican in the Senate, called the tweet “indefensible.” The post disappeared later that day, and White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president “did not hear the one statement made on the video.”
Dig deeper: Read Collin Garbarino’s report in Muse about how TV networks canceled or changed shows about police in response to protests.
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Seth is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute student course.