US President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order pledging to enforce prosecution of protesters who vandalise public memorials, as he announced he was skipping a weekend at his New Jersey golf resort to ensure “LAW & ORDER” in Washington.
Trump’s order follows a wave of civil unrest across America triggered by the killing of unarmed African American George Floyd, who died while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
In some cities, protesters have pulled down or vandalised statues and memorials of historical figures – such as Confederate leaders – who defended slavery.
“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!”
He added, “I was going to go to Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.”
In Washington, protesters have pulled down a statue of Confederate general Albert Pike, while others this week were unsuccessful in their attack on a statue of President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, near the White House.