President Donald Trump has called for two “anarchists” to turn themselves in after vandalising statues of George Washington in New York City.
“We have them on tape,” President Trump tweeted. “They will be prosecuted and face 10 years in Prison based on the Monuments and Statues Act. Turn yourselves in now!”
New York City police released surveillance footage showing two unidentified men early on Monday throwing balloons filled with red paint at the statues in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park.
President Trump tweeted last week he had “authorised the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalises or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US”.
President Trump also signed an executive order saying his administration would “not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our history that can be celebrated in public spaces”.
The order called for the government to prosecute such vandals “to the fullest extent permitted under federal law”.
Federal prosecutors in New York similarly have cracked down on people accused of firebombing police vehicles amid the unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Two Brooklyn lawyers were recently hit with charges that could put them in prison for nearly 50 years for setting fire to an empty New York City police vehicle last month.