Donald Trump says he ordered the federal government to arrest anyone attempting to vandalize a “monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S.” and sentence them to 10 years in prison, after police clashed with protesters who were trying to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House on Monday.
Tweeted Trump: “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!”
On Monday evening, in a highly unusual move, press were asked by the Secret Service to leave the White House and grounds as protesters were confronted at the nearby statue.
Said CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins to Anderson Cooper: “The Secret Service asked us to leave. I don’t think that’s ever happened since I’ve been inside the White House. Often they say you can’t go outside, the White House is on lockdown. Press was instructed to actually leave the White House grounds and out here, you can see there is a swarm of protesters out in front of the White House. There are reports that they were trying to take down the statute of Andrew Jackson that is in the square right in front of the White House and as we were walking back through here, we saw several protesters who said they had fired some substance at them. They aren’t sure if it was tear gas, pepper spray. … The police moved this barrier to where we are right now. Earlier today this is not where the barrier was. There are several protesters standing around and police officers forming a bit of a hapazard line in front of the White House as we wait to figure out more details about what is going on but clearly, they believe there was some kind of threat happening and that’s why they had reporters leave the White House in that very unusual move, Anderson.”
Later Tuesday, Trump added this: