Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress
Clark Mills's equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, across from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C

The Trump administration has activated the National Guard to protect national monuments as ‘George Floyd’ rioters continue to attack symbols of American history.

Fox News reported that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt formally asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to deploy the National Guard to protect the national monuments in Washington DC. The request followed Friday’s toppling of the capital’s sole statue of a Confederate leader – Albert Pike – near DC Police headquarters.

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Rioters attempted Monday to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson that faces the White House, but failed to get it done. An incensed President Donald Trump called the assault on Jackson’s statue a “sneak attack” and warned Tuesday morning that anyone caught vandalizing monuments or any other federal property would be subject to arrest and could face up to 10 years in prison under the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act.

The “protesters” also tried but failed on Monday to establish a “Black House Autonomous Zone” (BHAZ) outside the White House – an attempt to create another fantasy “state-within-a-state” similar to that which was created in Seattle a few weeks ago.

Interior Secretary Bernhardt told Fox News in an interview Tuesday that earlier in the day, he instructed the erection of a fence at Lafayette Plaza as well as at St. John’s Church (across from the White House). “We will protect these monuments and we will do it with dispatch and severity.”

On Tuesday night, the Park Police, the Metro DC Police, as well as the US Secret Service uniformed patrol were also deployed to protect the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square — which was defaced by protesters with the phrase “killer scum.” The statue has been repeatedly targeted since Monday by those attempting to tear it down, Reuters reported.

The Lincoln Memorial and WWII Memorial were vandalized by protesters in prior attacks; during another “protest” on Tuesday in front of the DC Emancipation Memorial, one demonstrator announced plans for this Thursday to tear down the memorial’s statue of Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed slave.

Bernhardt, meanwhile, told Reuters he visited Lafayette Square on Monday and witnessed the destruction, saying the country “will not bow to anarchists” and that “law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.”

The National Guard and other federal officers, Bernhardt said, are “exceptional, they’re dedicated, and they are dealing with a savagely significant situation,“ contending with “protesters” who have been hurling bricks and other objects at Park Police officers who were guarding the statute and other federal property.

At least 400 local National Guard personnel have been deployed to protect the national monuments; none are armed.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.