President Donald Trump announced Tuesday morning that he intends for the federal government to arrest and prosecute individuals who have vandalized statues or monuments on government property.

In a tweet, Trump said he has directed law enforcement to hold vandals accountable pursuant to the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act.

“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”

The announcement comes as rioters continue to target and destroy statues of former presidents, Confederate leaders, and even Christopher Columbus in town squares across the nation. Among the targeted monuments of presidents have been George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Yesterday, Trump warned rioters who attempted to destroy the statue of Jackson in D.C.’s Lafayette square, telling them to “beware!”

Thus far in the Lone Star State, monument removals have not been conducted by mob but rather by local elected officials with the City of Houston, Tarrant County, and other municipal and county governments voting to remove them from public view in accordance with the demands of rioters and protesters.

Thus far, Texas DPS has been deployed to protect monuments on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, but many citizens fear those in other parts of the state have not been afforded the same protection.

When the San Jacinto monument was threatened by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other violent groups last weekend, individual Texans organized a defense of the monument. They also called on Gov. Greg Abbott to offer a more robust defense of the sites.

“Abbott, if you don’t do it, then Texans are going to do it. And you’re not going to like the way we’re going to handle things,” Brandon Burkhart told the Houston Chronicle. Burkhart is the president of This Is Texas Freedom Force, a nonprofit group created to “protect Texas history and Texan’s rights.”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens