As protests across the country have continued for nearly a month, several historical monuments across the U.S. have been vandalized and, in some cases, destroyed.
President Donald Trump and many Republicans have called for swift action to stop the destructive acts.
In a press conference late last week, the House Freedom Caucus demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray apprehend and prosecute those involved in these property crimes, according to the Washington Examiner.
Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs, who chairs the caucus, stood outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., when he emphasized the “necessity of federal intervention when states and local jurisdictions allow the rights of their citizens to be violated, the public property to be attacked, vandalized, and destroyed.”
He went on to advise federal officials to “immediately begin making arrests of those who are attempting to violate rights and disturb our peace and vandalize our federal property and attacking our private property.”
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy echoed a similar message as Biggs.
“You don’t have liberty if you don’t have order,” Roy said, asserting that it is “time for the federal government to do its job and enforce the laws of the United States.”
“Mob rule has no place in America,” the group tweeted.
We call on AG Barr to take full & immediate advantage of all action available to him—including investigations, arrests, & prosecution—to thwart those vandalizing & defacing churches, national monuments, public property, & looting small businesses. Mob rule has no place in America
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) June 25, 2020
Last week, the president signed an executive order specifically intended to protect historically significant monuments.
As Roy noted in his remarks, there are “federal laws on the books that prohibit the kind of vandalism that is attacking our memorials.”
It remains to be seen whether the public statements of the president and House Republicans will be met with action by Barr and Wray.
If demonstrations continue to result in toppled statues and vandalism, however, their position is likely to gain support among ordinary Americans.
During his rally nearly two weeks ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the president argued that it should be against the law to burn the American flag and that anyone caught doing so should go to jail.
Trump told the crowd that Congress should take up legislation — that would also require a Constitutional Amendment — to make burning the American flag a criminal act punishable by one year in prison.
“Two days ago, leftist radicals in Portland, Oregon, ripped down a statue of George Washington and wrapped it in an American flag and set the American flag on fire,” Trump said.
“And you know, we ought to do something, Mr. Senators… we ought to come up with legislation that if you burn the American flag, you go to jail for one year,” Trump said.
“We should have legislation that if somebody wants to burn the American flag and stomp on it, but just burn it, they go to jail for one year,” he continued.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
Last year, Trump supported legislation by Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines that would prohibit flag burning by passing a constitutional amendment.
Unsurprisingly, the legislation has not gone anywhere and is just sitting in Congress.
Many Americans would likely agree that it should be against the law to burn the American flag.