President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he has signed an executive order calling for stiff punishment against those who damage statues and monuments.
The order comes days after protesters attempted to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson from Lafayette Park near the White House. Dozens of officers moved in to push the protesters back.
In recent weeks, there have been calls from supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement to remove statues and monuments of those tied to slavery and the Confederacy. Those calls have been met with swift opposition from Trump and fellow Republican leaders.
But the movement has found support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Califfornia, who has asked for 11 statues in the Capitol of Confederate leaders being removed from the complex.
“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators,” Trump said earlier this week.
Trump later added in an interview with Fox News, “We should learn from the history. And if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again."
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!” Trump tweeted late Friday.
The executive order calls for federal laws to be used to arrest those who topple statues and monuments, but it's unclear how the order will be largely enforced across the country. The majority of statues and monuments that have been targeted have not been federal government property.
To read the full text of the order, click here.