President Donald Trump announced to the press out of the blue that there is a law protecting Civil War statues called the Monuments Act. The Monuments Act, however, is about the use of public lands owned by the federal government for the preservation of historic, prehistoric, and scientific interests, like National Parks. It has nothing to do with statues.
What he actually plans to use is the 2003 Veterans Memorial Preservation Act which prohibits military statues from being destroyed. While Washington, D.C.'s mayor has the power to pardon offenders or commute a sentence, in the past it has been controlled by the Justice Department. It could give D.C. a unique opportunity to demand states rights in a legal battle.
Still, the president announced that the people responsible for trying to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson are going to be put in jail for a long time, he said, because he would be creating an Executive Order to mandate it. There hadn't been any announcement about such an order until the president announced it. It sent many to speculate that there was no order and that White House staff were likely sent scrambling to create whatever Trump announced.
Trump also announced that he wasn't "kidding" when he said that there should be less testing.
Q: "Mr. President, at that rally when you said you asked your people to slow down testing, were you just kidding, o… https://t.co/O3MOWFcYpA— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1592920692.0
NEW: Asked whether he was kidding when he claimed at his Tulsa rally he had instructed officials to slow down COVID… https://t.co/UDA5okNA7T— ABC News (@ABC News)1592920481.0
"I don't kid," said Pres Trump, asked if he was kidding when he said he ordered a slow down in Coronavirus testing.… https://t.co/iyjsw0cKte— Mark Knoller (@Mark Knoller)1592920437.0
Just now I asked the President if he was kidding when he said he told his people to slow down testing, which is how… https://t.co/ERg8pDvLim— Weijia Jiang (@Weijia Jiang)1592919279.0
It’s not worth fighting over whether Trump was kidding about coronavirus testing. He doesn’t know what he’s doing a… https://t.co/akJ91C6zKh— Amanda Carpenter (@Amanda Carpenter)1592921046.0
The president then went on to congratulate himself for having the largest rally crowd in history, both in-person and online. It's a similar claim used by the White House in 2017 to claim the president's inauguration crowd was the largest in history when photos showed the contrary.
See the mockery below:
Let’s put up statues of Obama all over DC & make Trump defend them 🤣— William LeGate 🇺🇸 (@William LeGate 🇺🇸)1592921877.0
Trump just said he’s “looking for long jail sentences” for all protestors who were arrested yesterday in Layfayette… https://t.co/GHd26lTMXP— Glenn Kirschner (@Glenn Kirschner)1592920560.0
Trump didn't just "delay" coronavirus testing. He committed fraud on the American people. Daily. At a constant. F… https://t.co/khT4jq0MNa— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1592920489.0
So Republicans are more upset about the statues than they are about the 122 thousand dead humans?— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@Molly Jong-Fast🏡)1592922314.0
Trump: “I don’t kid.” Bookmark this for both today and every future day when his cling-on sycophants try to claim… https://t.co/yaclpLDHTw— The Hoarse Whisperer (@The Hoarse Whisperer)1592920451.0
Trump is doing more to protect statues than American citizens.— The Lincoln Project (@The Lincoln Project)1592921125.0
Trump lounging in the White House, watching Fox with his diet coke and a dripping Big Mac with a side of KFC origin… https://t.co/9RYSft43ls— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@☇RiotWomenn☇)1592921386.0
There isn’t a word accurate enough to describe this evil. He must be voted out. https://t.co/ddjI1Tr6vs— The Lincoln Project (@The Lincoln Project)1592921037.0
Now, where are all you pundits who lauded Trump for criminal justice reform? He is signing an EO to put people in p… https://t.co/kgQzh6YOzo— Arike Idowu ~ Wear A Mask!!! 🏳️🌈💜💚🖤 (@Arike Idowu ~ Wear A Mask!!! 🏳️🌈💜💚🖤)1592921554.0
@realDonaldTrump What do we want? A statue of President Trump. When do we want it? NOW! https://t.co/UEzHZXN7Lx— John Huw Roberts Republic of Wales. 🏴 (@John Huw Roberts Republic of Wales. 🏴)1592921990.0
.@mschlapp, a CPAC person whose wife is a Trump flack, had nothing to say about the attempt to take down Andrew Jac… https://t.co/fEuNLQyVFD— George Szamuely (@George Szamuely)1592921887.0
Trump wants 10 year jail sentences for vandalising statue. Pigeons are scared.— Huguenot House 🎪 🕷️🕸️🕯️⭐🏴 🐝 (@Huguenot House 🎪 🕷️🕸️🕯️⭐🏴 🐝)1592921844.0
So his comment about slowing down testing wasn’t “tongue in cheek” after all. https://t.co/79txtCv3rY— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti)1592921464.0
Also there are a few things that need to happen between someone getting arrested and being sentenced to 10 years in… https://t.co/RrW46EPqwE— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa)1592920442.0
Trump is a monster, and every single GOP senator up for election this year is silent and complicit.… https://t.co/lJ3YPV2Dfj— Ezra Levin (@Ezra Levin)1592920576.0
Trump contradicts his own aides and says he was not kidding when he said he asked for a slowdown in coronavirus tes… https://t.co/6qz894CrKM— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1592922505.0
TRUMP: I asked my aides to slow down testing. REPORTER: Did Trump slow testing? KAYLEIGH: He was kidding. REPORTER:… https://t.co/mgem7RsxDj— Untucked with Jeremy Newberger (@Untucked with Jeremy Newberger)1592921908.0
@TeamTrump @realDonaldTrump The border is 1900 miles long. #TrumpFail— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod)1592922443.0
It will be interesting how history teachers try to explain Trump 50-60 years from now https://t.co/RaGIBV3nqj— Howie Klein (@Howie Klein)1592922890.0