President Donald Trump announced Monday he plans to take action against cities that allow liberal demonstrators to take down American statues and monuments with apparent impunity.
During an interview with Fox News contributor and Eternal Word Television Network anchor Raymond Arroyo, Trump was asked about the trend of left-leaning protesters defacing public property by vandalizing statues and monuments.
“We are going to do an executive order and we’re going to make the cities guard their monuments. This is a disgrace,” the president replied.
“It’s a disgrace,” he also said.
“Remember, some of this is great artwork. This is magnificent artwork, as good as there is anywhere in the world, as good as you see in France, as good as you see anywhere. It’s a disgrace.”
Trump also said he doesn’t think many of those who are attacking great American symbols are aware of what they are defacing.
“Most of these people don’t even know what they’re taking down,” Trump said..
“You saw [Union Army commander and President] Ulysses S. Grant, where they want to take him down. He’s the one who stopped the ones that everyone dislikes so much,” Trump said in an apparent reference to the movement to remove Confederate monuments.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month and sweeping protests nationwide, demonstrators have indiscriminately gone after statues and other American works of art paying tribute to the country’s founders.
In addition to Confederate monuments, statues and monuments honoring Christopher Columbus, former presidents and even anti-slavery figures have also been pulled down or otherwise defaced.
In Philadelphia last month, a statue of famed abolitionist and American engineer Matthias Baldwin was defaced, just days before something similar happened to a monument in Boston honoring black American soldiers.
In recent days, however, the country’s founders have also come under attack, something that Trump predicted three years ago would happen.
In August 2017, Trump contended that by allowing activists to erase history by taking down Confederate monuments, the door would be open for symbols honoring former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to be removed as well.
“I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” Trump said at the time. “You really have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
“George Washington was a slave owner,” Pres. Trump says. “Are we going to take down statues of George Washington?” pic.twitter.com/n3SFULvTD3
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 15, 2017
Since then, statues of both presidents have now been defaced or taken down in recent days.
On Thursday night, demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, toppled a statue of the country’s first president after wrapping it in an American flag and setting it on fire, KOIN-TV reported.
Antifa rioters on Sandy Blvd. in Portland draped a US flag over a George Washington statue & set it on fire. They then toppled the statue. “Genocidal colonist” & “f— cops” are sprayed on monument. Rioters have began to build another autonomous zone nearby. pic.twitter.com/TrZkhPK9zp
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 19, 2020
Also in Portland, demonstrators also took down a statue of Jefferson on June 14, the Willamette Week newspaper reported.
In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park over the weekend, protesters took down statues of Francis Scott Key, Spanish missionary Junipero Serra and Grant (the latter of whom defeated the Confederacy on the battlefield), according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
On Monday night, a viral online campaign encouraged demonstrators to take down statues of Jesus as well.
Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.
They are a form of white supremacy.
Always have been.
In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went?
Tear them down.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 22, 2020
Twitter activist Shaun King likened “statues of the white European they claim is Jesus” to symbols of “white supremacy.”
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