WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The word “killer” was spray painted across the base of President Andrew Jackson’s statue in a park outside the White House as protesters attempted to topple the monument.
President Trump now promises 10-year prison sentences for those who vandalize monuments on federal property.
“We are looking at long term sentences for the vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists,” Trump said.
This comes as the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General announced an investigation into whether federal officers used excessive force against peaceful protesters outside the White House 3 weeks ago.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said protesters want to erase history. “Governors and mayors have stood by and watched criminals spray paint churches and topple statues.”
Democrats criticize Trump for pushing harsh prison sentences even as his administration works on prison reforms to reduce many prison sentences.
Nevada Democrat Dina Titus said Trump’s reaction is quite different than when white supremacists held protests in Charlottesville.
“People with Nazi symbols, Ku Klux Klan symbols, nobody else would think it’s good people on both sides,” she said.
President Jackson forced tens of thousands of Native Americans on a deadly march to relocate to reservations, known as the Trail of Tears.
Titus said Trump has lost touch.
“It really is a national movement that needs to be addressed. And he won’t, he just keeps playing to his base,” she said.
Titus said museums may be a better place to remember and learn about controversial figures, including Confederate leaders.