Trump has activated National Guard troops in Washington D.C. to guard the city’s monuments amid protests over racial injustice.
About 400 soldiers will stand guard to protect statues and infrastructure as some demonstrators have attempted to pull down statues, according to USA Today.
“The District of Columbia National Guard has sent unarmed troops to guard monuments and other infrastructure in support of local law enforcement agencies,” said Washington, D.C. National Guard spokesperson Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper on Wednesday.
Clapper said not all of the troops would be on the street at the same time, and Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky pointed out that none of the soldiers had been sent yet to the monuments to support the National Park Police.
“They remain on standby at the National Guard Armory,” Belinsky said.
Trump has been vocal in his displeasure of protster’s attempts to remove statues, including that of former President Andrew Jackson at Lafayette Park near the White House. Protesters tried to remove Jackson’s statue for his history of removing Native American tribes in the Southeastern United States from their ancestral lands.
Lafayette park has been the site of large protests since the death of George Floyd and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a section of street next to the park Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Protesters in the city pulled down a statue of Confederate general Albert Pike last week. Donald Trump responded by calling for the protesters to be “immediately arrested.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Tuesday night on Fox News he had requested the troops and instructed the Department of the Interior to erect a fence around Lafayette Park.
“We will protect these places with dispatch and severity,” he tweeted.
Trump also talked about his plans to protect the statues of the nation’s capital.
“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
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