UPDATE: The statue of Lincoln lifting up oppressed humanity was not torn down by protesters, as they had vowed on Tuesday. As the seven o’clock hour for the desecration approached, Americans waited. By 7:30 pm, Lincoln’s defenders were still waiting. As fencing and patriots guarded the statue, protesters blamed the light rain for the small turnout. They then vowed to tear the statue down at six o’clock on Friday night.
“Not gonna happen,” President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday in the Rose Garden declared to protesters who have vowed to tear down the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park tonight.
The statue of Lincoln lifting up oppressed humanity was paid for and erected in 1876 by freed slaves to honor the slain 16th president of the United States who had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The monumental announcement came as the District of Columbia National Guard said it is deploying 400 unarmed troops in the nation’s capital to help secure monuments and infrastructure as protesters have tried to tear them down, according to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy who activated a portion of the D.C. National Guard to protect federal monuments.
National Guard troops previously deployed to D.C. in response to protests and rioting in the weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. President Donald Trump eventually ordered their removal two weeks ago.
The decision comes after protesters on Monday unsuccessfully tried to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, at Lafayette Park near the White House.
In the Rose Garden, President Trump said, “I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don’t even have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who it is.”
He continued, “Now they’re looking at Jesus Christ. They’re looking at George Washington. They’re looking at Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Jefferson. Not gonna happen. Not gonna happen, not as long as I’m here.”
Trump also tweeted that he would sign an executive order “before the end of the week” to make it easier to prosecute those who attempt to topple monuments. The order will also make the prosecution of vandals retroactive for the damage that has already been done.
The President added, “We’ve arrested numerous people, as you know, for what took place outside of Washington. In addition, the FBI is investigating hundreds of people throughout the country for what they’ve done to monuments, statues and even buildings.”
He cited The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003 which states that a person who willfully injures or destroys memorials “commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States” — or attempts to do so — may be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Shortly before the President’s announcement, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted he’d just talked to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who he said assured him President Trump “will not allow the Emancipation Memorial of President Lincoln to be destroyed by the left-wing mob.”
That mob has already torn down Christopher Columbus. But the violence of their historical revisionism has jumped the shark, with the Madison, Wisconsin takedown of “Lady Forward,” a tribute to women’s suffrage.