In recent weeks, protesters have been targeting American monuments and statues. It started with calls to remove Confederate leaders, men who fought to preserve slavery.
But it quickly turned into violent attempts to destroy all American statues, including figures who fought to end slavery.
Activists discussed online the destruction of a monument that honors Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, paid for and erected by freed slaves to honor him and their own actions towards freedom.
And Black Lives Matter leaders are now directing supporters to destroy statues of Jesus and smash in church windows.
The President, in response, vowed to protect these statues and monuments:
Why are Trump’s words—and actions—important?
While some Americans supported the removal of Confederate leaders from government property, few are happy with the widespread destruction of historic leaders
When asked about Trump’s request to restore the Pike statue, the National Park Service said, “It is the intent of the National Park Service to mitigate any damage to any statue, monument, and memorial damaged due to any criminal activity.”
Meanwhile, the White House expects US Marshals to help protect national monuments as early as this week, officials said, after Trump publicly stated he would take steps to ensure monuments aren’t torn down and those who do suffer long jail sentences. The marshals are expected to begin their work before the end of the week. The Washington Post first reported the marshals’ expected involvement.
The marshals’ help in protecting monuments thought to be racist or problematic is a stark contrast to when marshals protected James Meredith, the first black man to attend the University of Mississippi, at the direction of President John F. Kennedy. That moment in 1962 is thought to be one of the proudest in US Marshals history.