President Trump announced Friday that he signed an executive order to protect American monuments, memorials and statues and threatened those who try to pull them down with “long prison time.”
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump tweeted. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”
The new order enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration.
It also provides assistance for protecting the federal statues.
Meanwhile on Friday evening, Attorney General Bill Barr directed the creation of a task force to counter anti-government extremists, specifically naming those who support the far-right “boogaloo” movement and those who identify as Antifa.
The task force will be headed by Craig Carpenito, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the district of Northern Texas, and will be composed of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI and other relevant departments, according to a press release. The group will share information with local and state law enforcement and will provide training on identifying anti-government extremists, according to an internal Justice Department memo.