On Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that the DOJ and FBI have hundreds of live cases holding “anarchists” and rogue actors accountable for the looting, vandalism, and arson across America that have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 20 Americans, most of them black, have died in the riots.
“Law and order are the building blocks to the American dream, but if anarchy prevails, this dream comes crumbling down. Anarchy in our streets is unacceptable and anger is not enough. You have a president committed to action,” McEnany said in a press conference.
The press secretary announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) “has arrested over 100 anarchists for rioting and destruction on federal property. The DOJ has also charged four men in federal court for attempting to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square.”
Meanwhile, “the FBI has over 200 open domestic terrorism investigations ongoing. [Attorney General William] Barr has created a task force on violent anti-government extremists led by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Northern Texas. With 200 Trump-appointed judges confirmed, the rule of law will be upheld.”
“Law and Order are the building blocks of the American Dream, but if anarchy prevails, this dream comes crumbling down!”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) June 29, 2020
Meanwhile, another shooting in Seattle’s Capitol Hill
Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Occupied Protest (CHOP) left a second man dead on Monday after Mayor Jenny Durkan failed to remove the rioters a week after pledging she would do so. Trump called Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) out on their failure to restore law and order in Capitol Hill.
“Seattle Looters, Agitators, Anarchists and ‘Protestors’, are now refusing to leave the ‘CHOP’ Zone. They have ZERO respect for Government, or the Mayor of Seattle or Governor of Washington State! Not good!” the president tweeted.
Seattle Looters, Agitators, Anarchists and “Protestors”, are now refusing to leave the “CHOP” Zone. They have ZERO respect for Government, or the Mayor of Seattle or Governor of Washington State! Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
The president has directed federal law enforcement to enforce the Veterans Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act which penalizes any American who “wilfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy,” any monument on public property commemorating a veteran of the U.S. armed forces. The act applies to Americans who cross state lines to commit the vandalism or who vandalize property owned by the federal government.
Iconoclasts have vandalized and toppled statues of Confederate generals and Union generals, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. They even vandalized statues of Mahatma Gandhi and the first black Union volunteers.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) condemned what he termed the “1619 riots,” arguing that the iconoclastic spirit evokes The New York Times‘s “1619 Project,” which attempted to redefine American history by centering America’s founding not in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence but in 1619, with the arrival of the first black slaves. The Times ultimately had to admit that one of its core claims — that America declared independence to save slavery — was false. Even so, the 1619 Project suggests the American experiment is fundamentally racist and must be scrapped, and the iconoclasm that targets every statue under the sun echoes this anti-American screed.
McEnany is right — law and order are fundamental to the American dream, and rioters should face the music. The protesters rightly angry over the police killing of George Floyd are peaceful, but rioters are taking advantage of the situation to engage in lawless activity, and they must be stopped.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.