President Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that the vandals who splattered red paint on a statue of George Washington in New York City were caught on tape and will be tracked down.
“They will be prosecuted and face 10 years in Prison based on the Monuments and Statues Act. Turn yourselves in now!”
The New York Post reported that the two men were spotted on surveillance footage. They were seen near Washington Square Park early Monday. One was wearing a hockey mask. Photos emerged from the park that showed two Washington statues with red paint stains that resembled dried blood.
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The suspects, identified in reports as a man and woman, are accused of tossing balloons filled with the paint at the statues and then taking off on bikes. The statues are the latest targets by anarchists in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.
Trump has announced in the past a tough stance on anyone who vandalizes statues in the name of protest, especially after anarchists recently attempted to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson, which stands in the shadow of the White House.
Trump tweeted last week that he signed “a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence.”
Hours before the vandalism, the New York Times ran a column by Charles Blow who said that Washington statues have no place in public squares.
“Some people who are opposed to taking down monuments ask, ‘If we start, where will we stop?’ It might begin with Confederate generals, but all slave owners could easily become targets. Even George Washington himself. To that I say, ‘abso-fricking-lutely!'” Blow wrote.
Dr. Iven Young, 86, told the Post, “Washington has blood on his hands. I’m in favor of them defacing!”
The paper reported that workers from the city’s Parks Department were tasked with trying to remove the paint blotches. They said it is a challenging task.
“This does do damage — you can see bits of the statue all over me,’’ a worker told The Post. “It’s marble — it comes off.”