Asked about Trump’s request to restore the Pike statue, the National Park Service said: “The intention of the National Park Service is to mitigate any damage to any statue, monument or monument that has been damaged by criminal activity.”
The generals’ help in protecting monuments that are believed to be racist or problematic is in stark contrast to when Marshall protected James Meredith, the first black man to attend Mississippi University under President John F. Kennedy. At the time, 1962 was considered one of the proudest in US history.
“The US Marshall Service does not confirm or deny any possible enforcement activities,” the agency said in response to a request for comment.
And Trump plans to sign an executive order in the coming days to protect national statues and monuments, he said Wednesday. The substance of the order was not immediately clear and officials said they had drafted it.
Efforts are being coordinated with a coordinated push by the Trump administration to protect and preserve monuments and statues, even those linked to the country’s racist past, which mimics its efforts earlier this month to quell protests.
On Wednesday, Trump described efforts to abolish racist or troubled monuments as extreme.
“I don’t think many of the people who are tearing down the statues have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who they are when they were demolished,” Trump said, citing the overthrow of the Union’s general and former President Ulysses S. Grant. as an example.
“Now they’re looking at Jesus Christ, they’re looking at George Washington, they’re looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. It’s not going to happen, it’s not going to happen while I’m here, “Trump said.
There have been no extensive reports of activists tearing down statues of Jesus.
Some have called for the removal of a statue of Lincoln in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., because its portrayal of the 16th president standing over a freed slave is considered problematic.
While Trump has mentioned names such as Washington, Lincoln and Jesus, his efforts to preserve monuments stemmed from efforts to remove statues of federal generals and soldiers. Trump said they should not be removed.
He did not mention the federal statues on Wednesday, saying the Democrats “could care less if it happened or not.”
“I think the American people understand that. That’s how we’re going to have a very strong executive order. It’s going to happen very soon before the end of the week,” Trump said.
In a recent study by Quinnipiac University, 52% of Americans said they supported the removal of Confederate statues.
“The Columbia National Guard is responding to a request for support from law enforcement officials and sent unarmed personnel, along with others on standby,” National Guard spokesman Robert Perino told CNN. “Activated guards are expected to provide security at local monuments and critical infrastructure.”
A defense official said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy signed the note on Tuesday, allowing DC National Guard to be activated after the National Police Park filed for help.
The official stressed that the Guard forces have not yet been sent to the streets and so far everyone has remained in their barracks. There are currently about 100 troops in the immediate area of Washington, DC. Activation could be increased to a total of 400 to rotate troops if needed. The Pentagon expects guards to use it as a precautionary measure until the Department of Justice can gather additional federal law enforcement personnel to take over the mission, the defense official said. However, guard units are expected to remain in the DC area until July 4.
CNN’s Evan Perez, Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne contributed to the report.