The Trump administration is taking steps to protect national monuments across the country, including enlisting the aid of the U.S. Marshals Service.
An email directive obtained by The Washington Post says the U.S. Marshals Service was "asked to immediately prepare to provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments (throughout the country)." The U.S. Marshals said the agency would begin coordinating efforts and can be ready to help as early as this week.
NBC News also reports President Donald Trump personally asked Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the National Park Service to restore a statue of Confederate General Albert Pike in Washington D.C. after protesters toppled it last week.
President Trump said Tuesday he would soon issue an executive order to "reinforce" federal criminal penalties against those who damage historical monuments. The president said at a press conference on Wednesday he believes "many of the people that are knocking down these statues" are doing so indiscriminately.
"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, when they knocked down Grant — when they want to knock down Grant," President Trump said. "But when they look at certain — now they're looking at Jesus Christ, they're looking at George Washington. They're looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. Not going to happen. Not going to happen. Not as long as I'm here."