President Donald Trump credited his executive order issued a week ago for halting the defacing and vandalism of national monuments and statues and reiterated a vow to not let violent protesters “impact the national dream.”
Trump’s remarks came Thursday at the White House during the “Spirit of America Showcase,” an event that highlighted American businesses prevailing amid the economic slowdown resulting from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“And I want to also thank all of law enforcement,” Trump said as part of his address to the gathering. “The job you’ve done is incredible.
“We signed a bill. If you play with our monuments or our statues, you go to jail for 10 years. It’s amazing how it all stops so fast. Stops so fast. We let the local authorities handle it as long as possible, but ultimately we said, ‘Let’s step in.’ And we stepped in and it stopped. Ten years in jail if they do what they were doing.”
Trump referred to protests and riots that erupted after a black man, George Floyd, died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The unrest, led by the group Black Lives Matter, expanded into toppling or demands to remove statues and monuments of Confederate figures, Revolutionary War heroes such as George Washington, former President Theodore Roosevelt, white blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and others.
An executive order signed by Trump on June 26 instituted a 10-year sentence for anyone who “destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States.”
Trump also credited his law and order posture with Seattle officials finally ending the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (or CHAZ), otherwise known as the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (or CHOP), a group of demonstrators that cordoned off a six-block area in the downtown area on June 8. Seattle police eventually cleared the area on Wednesday.
“I’m glad to see, in Seattle, they took care of the problem, because as they know, we were going in to take,” Trump said. “We were ready to go in and they knew that too. And they went in and they did what they had to do.
“We’re a nation committed to equal and abundant opportunity for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed. The American Dream is the sacred birthright of every American child, and that’s what we have, is we have the American Dream. And nobody is going to shatter the American Dream — not the anarchists, not the agitators, not the fools, not the looters. They’re not going to have any impact on the national dream — the national dream like no other.”
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