Donald Trump Promises Executive Order Forcing Protection Of Confederate Monuments
In an interview Monday, President Donald Trump promised an executive order forcing cities to guard and protect Confederate monuments from removal or destruction. Across the country, monuments celebrating the Confederacy are being removed by official means, or torn down by protesters.
Confederate monuments, commemorating those who fought to keep the institution of slavery, have become a battleground. There have been calls by activists to have them all removed. Meanwhile, others fight to keep the memorials up, citing heritage. With no path to legal removal apparent, some activists have taken matters into their own hands, literally pulling down statues themselves. In North Carolina, this has prompted the Governor to remove statues on the Capitol grounds through official channels, as a safety measure, reports the News & Observer.
In Richmond, Virginia, unlawful assembly was declared Sunday night, ABC reports, as protestors attempted to pull down a statue of Robert E. Lee that has been a subject of protests.
Conservative leadership has expressed distaste for removal by any means, and on Monday, in an interview with Fox News correspondent Raymond Arroyo, Trump announced an upcoming executive order that would require cities to protect the monuments.
Trump: Very soon we’re going to do an executive order and we’re going make the cities guard their monuments pic.twitter.com/zk4caQA0pF
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) June 23, 2020
In the interview, Trump called the statues great artwork.
“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.”
He also asserted that most people do not actually know what they’re taking down.
As History.com explains in their article on the monuments, most were not erected immediately after the Civil War ended in 1865, but decades later, from 1900 to the 1920s, the Jim Crow era. They were placed to “teach values,” historian Mark Elliott says, including, specifically, the ‘value’ of “glorification of the cause of the Civil War.”
Trump also tweeted Tuesday to say that he had authorized the Federal government to arrest and imprison anyone vandalizing or destroying monuments.
…..This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020