President Donald Trump announced plans to issue an executive order to force cities to protect monuments amid protests.
During an interview with Eternal Word Television Network, Trump shared his opinion on the fight against Confederate monuments with host Raymond Arroyo.
Trump described the removal of statues and monuments as a “disgrace” while he lauded the figures as “magnificent artwork.”
“It’s a disgrace,” Trump said. “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.”
Despite the detailed history behind the statues, Trump claimed, “Most of these people don’t even know what they’re taking down.”
Trump voiced his disapproval of a particular statue being forcefully removed by protesters. On Friday, the Ulysses S. Grant statue in San Francisco was toppled by protesters.
“You saw it … where they want to take [Grant] down. He’s the one who stopped the ones that everyone dislikes so much,” Trump said.
Trump went on to announce his intent to sign an executive order protecting monuments, “Very soon we’re going to do an executive order and we’re going to make the cities guard their monuments.”
But, according to Arroyo, the president did not elaborate on how the order would be crafted.
“It is certainly something he’s clearly got on his mind,” Arroyo said. “I’m sure the White House counsel’s office is working on it. That is big news that we haven’t heard yet, [that] there is an executive order forthcoming.”
Arroyo added, “It is a question, certainly in my mind, how the federal branch can impose its will on these cities and municipalities.”
The president’s latest remarks came as protesters in Washington, D.C., took aim at the city’s Andrew Jackson statue. On Monday, protesters gathered in Lafayette Square chanting, ‘Hey hey, ho ho Andrew Jackson’s got to go.'”
Protesters scaled the statue, chanting “hey hey ho ho Andrew Jackson’s got to go” pic.twitter.com/i3o3PqKmZW— Margaret Barthel (@margaretbarthel) June 22, 2020
Amid demonstrations, Trump took to Twitter to slam protesters as he warned of the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act.
Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
…..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
The president’s arguments about Grant’s victory are correct. Grant also contributed to the Congressional Reconstruction as he advocated for removing vestiges of slavery. However, prior to the Civil War, Grant was a known slave owner. His later cause aligns with the stance of protesters advocating for the removal of all remnants of slavery.