Trump threatens to jail people for 10 years for removing racist statues

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Trump is escalating his threats against those who remove monuments to racist figures.

Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened arrest and harsh punishment for protesters who deface or destroy monuments.

"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," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!"

Trump's threat came after demonstrators in Washington, D.C., tried to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson. The seventh president of the United States, Jackson was a wealthy pro-slavery populist who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, used to force Native Americans from their land.

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Trump reveres Jackson.

Trump has also condemned protesters for calling for the removal of monuments to Confederate figures across the country.

Calls for the removal of monuments to Confederate soldiers and other racist memorials are not new. However, they have increased along with racial justice protests of the deaths of Black people at the hands of white police officers.

And the statues are now coming down.

Memorials to Confederate figures have been toppled across the country. Congress is considering changing the names of military bases named after Confederates.

Statues of Christopher Columbus are also being targeted for removal.

Trump has been criticized and accused of racism for saying that removing the monuments and renaming the bases would remove "part of a Great American Heritage."

Last week, after protesters in Washington, D.C., toppled a statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike, Trump tweeted his outrage.

"The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country!" Trump tweeted.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.