Trump calls on George Washington statue vandals to surrender
“We are tracking down the two Anarchists who threw paint on the magnificent George Washington Statue in Manhattan,” the president said in a tweet.
“We have them on tape. They will be prosecuted and face 10 years in Prison based on the Monuments and Statues Act. Turn yourselves in now!” he added.
The two unidentified men — one of whom was wearing a hockey mask — are seen on surveillance footage walking near Washington Square Park wearing backpacks before the vandalism.
They stop at the iconic arch at the main entrance of the Greenwich Village park at about 3:20 a.m. Monday and speak with someone who is sitting on a Citi Bike, the footage shows.
Both of them then hurl paint-filled balloons at the statues, one of Washington as the nation’s first president and another depicting him as general of the country’s Revolutionary War forces, the video shows.
One of the suspects has blond hair and was seen wearing an N95 mask, black shorts and a black T-shirt. The other wore a face-covering white hockey mask, a black T-shirt and black jeans, the footage shows.
Police on Tuesday said no one has been arrested in the incident yet.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that he said will toughen enforcement of penalties for those who vandalize monuments.
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump said in a tweet. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”
The order mandates that the Attorney General’s Office directly prosecute anyone who “destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property.”