People gather around the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia

Trump Plans Executive Order to Protect Confederate Monuments

Great use of time during a pandemic and economic collapse.

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As the George Floyd protests continue, people all across the country have been teaming up to vandalize and tear down confederate statues. Local and state governments have also stepped in to remove these monuments to racism and treason, in what is a long-overdue reckoning of our country’s racist history. Images and videos of these statues being toppled have spread across social media, and with good reason. Nothing signifies revolution quite like tearing down the statues of oppressors.

So it will not surprise you to hear that racist-in-chief Donald Trump is not happy about these statues being torn down. Trump tweeted, “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent…” He added, “…. This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”

Glad to see that Trump is prioritizing the protection of these racist monuments, as opposed to 1) addressing rampant police brutality or 2) the pandemic or 3) the economic collapse or literally every other thing of greater importance. It’s a move designed to appease his Confederate-loving, white supremacist base, as is everything he says and does.

Trump also thanked the cops who pepper-sprayed protesters as they attempted to take down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square, close to the White House. Trump has long been a fan of Jackson, who shares his racist and populist beliefs. The president tweeted in response,

Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House saying, “We are looking at long term jail sentences for these vandals, hoodlums, anarchists and agitators.” He continued harping on the statues in an interview with Raymond Arroyo, host of “World Over” on the EWTN Global Catholic Network, saying “It’s a disgrace.” He added, “Also, remember, some of this is great artwork. This is magnificent artwork, as good as there is anywhere in the world — as good as you see in France. As good as you see anywhere. It’s a disgrace.”

Ultimately, Trump and the federal government have little authority over these statues, which are largely subject to state and local governance. And more and more people are wising up to the fact that the Confederacy is not heritage. It was a five-year long failed secession attempt solely based on the Southern desire to keep slavery intact.

Pokemon Go has lasted longer than the Confederacy, so we should honestly just replace all these statues with Squirtle and call it a day.

(via HuffPost, image: RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.