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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day President Trump canceled his scheduled weekend trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey which the state now has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming from states with coronavirus spikes. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Trump signs executive order to protect monuments

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect federal monuments and statues. The order instructs federal law enforcement to prosecute people who damage federal monuments, and threatens to withhold federal funding from state and local governments that fail to protect their own public monuments and statues.

“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday evening.

The order comes after weeks of protests against police violence and racial injustice across the country, and after statues and monuments have been toppled nationwide. Monuments and statues of Confederate officials and other controversial historical figures have been targeted and vandalized.

The president has argued that protesters have gone too far.

“Individuals and organizations have the right to peacefully advocate for either the removal or the construction of any monument.  But no individual or group has the right to damage, deface, or remove any monument by use of force,” the order says.

It says “anarchists and left-wing extremists have sought to advance a fringe ideology that paints the United States of America as fundamentally unjust and have sought to impose that ideology on Americans through violence and mob intimidation.”

The order also says “it is the policy of the United States to prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property.”

Author: GRACE SEGERS, CBS News
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