US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he will soon sign an executive order to punish all those responsible for vandalization of historic monuments and statues. "I will have an executive order very shortly. And all it's really going to do is reinforce what's already there, but in a more uniform way, Trump told reporters at the White House.
His comments came a day after a group of protestors tried to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House. Local law enforcement officials had to use pepper spray and force to prevent the statue being pulled down.
In the past few week, protestors demanding police reforms and justice to African American George Floyd, who was killed in police custody, have vandalized several national monuments and statues including Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Mahatma Gandhi and historic church in front of the White House.
Trump described these people as hoodlums and anarchist. "If these hoodlums come around -- these are not protestors, by the way; these are -- these are anarchists and other things. If these hoodlums come around, and if the states can't handle it, we are ready, willing, and able to help..." he said in response to a question.
Monday night, he said, law enforcement stopped an attack on a monument of President Jackson in Lafayette Park. "I just want to thank law enforcement. They did a great job. We were working very closely with the White House Secret Service and some of our executives. They stopped it cold, he said.
"Numerous people are in jail and going to jail today. People are already there, but we're looking at long-term sentences under the act. We have a very specific monuments act, Trump said.
We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators, and call them whatever you want. Some people don't like that language, but that's what they are. They're bad people. They don't love our country, and they're not taking down our monuments. I just want to make that clear, Trump said in response to a question.