Democratic Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department did not respond or declined to comment on whether they would protect the Emancipation Memorial on Thursday night, when protesters have vowed to tear it down.
Protesters surrounded the statue Tuesday night and vowed to bring equipment and tear it down Thursday at 7p.m. Bowser’s office did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls from the Daily Caller asking whether she planned to protect the statue. The Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment, saying it did not comment on operations.
The statue, which stands in Lincoln Park in the nation’s capital, depicts President Abraham Lincoln with his left hand outstretched over a freed slave who is rising from his knees. Erected in 1876, the statue was paid for almost entirely by freed slaves, and Frederick Douglass delivered the dedication address, saying it represented the gratitude all black Americans have toward Lincoln.
“When, therefore, it shall be asked what we have to do with the memory of Abraham Lincoln, or what Abraham Lincoln had to do with us, the answer is ready, full, and complete,” he said before the 25,000 Americans who came to see the statue unveiled.
Despite the silence of the local government, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he would be sending 400 additional National Guard soldiers to protect monuments in Washington through July 8. (EXCLUSIVE: Trump Isn’t Sending National Guard To Seattle — ‘I Think It’s Great Sitting Back And Watching This Catastrophe’)
“On June 23, at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, and with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army activated roughly 400 members of the DC National Guard to support the National Park Police in a civil disturbance and security role around the District,” Defense spokesman LTC Chris Mitchell explained.
The National Guard forces will not be armed, but will serve as a “uniformed deterrent” to protesters. They are standing by at the DC armory and have not yet been dispatched to specific monuments. (RELATED: Brian Kilmeade: Vandals Can ‘Defile’ Jackson Statue But ‘They Couldn’t Take Him Down’)
“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 on Tuesday. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”