June 19th President Trump tweeted:
The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country! @MayorBowser
U.S. National Guard troops have been activated to protect monuments near the White House.
USAToday reports four hundred National Guard troops have been activated in the nation’s capital to guard monuments and infrastructure amid protests over racial injustice and some demonstrators’ attempts to pull down statues.
“The District of Columbia National Guard has sent unarmed troops to guard monuments and other infrastructure in support of local law enforcement agencies,” said Washington, D.C. National Guard spokesperson Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper on Wednesday.
Clapper said not all of the troops would be on the street at the same time, and Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky noted that none of the soldiers had been sent yet to the monuments to support the National Park Police.
“They remain on standby at the National Guard Armory,” Belinsky said.
Kevin Donahue, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, told USA TODAY the city government was not aware of the activation of the National Guard until they saw reports in the media. Donahue said the monuments were within the federal government’s jurisdiction, specifically under the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police, “and therefore those agencies need to determine adequate and reasonable protection.”
The activation comes as some protesters across the country have tried to remove statues related to the Confederacy and other statues following the death of George Floyd.
Protesters at Lafayette Park near the White House tried to remove the park’s statue of Andrew Jackson, who, as president, removed Native American tribes in the Southeastern United States from their ancestral lands.
The park has been the site of large protests since Floyd’s death and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a section of street adjacent to the park Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Per Bloomberg, President Trump promised executive action by the end of the week to protect monuments after some statues of Confederates and other historical figures with checkered life stories were angrily brought down from parks and other places of public prominence.