While historic monuments are under attack in the wake of protests against police brutality, Senate Judiciary Committee member Joni Ernst said on Tuesday that the forceful removal of public statues is “plain old vandalism.”
“That is not a protest, that is vandalism,” Ernst, R-Iowa, told “America’s Newsroom.”
Law and order need to be “restored,” the senator said. There instead needs to be a healthy dialogue, Ernest stressed, and "not what we’re seeing on the streets today."
President Trump said late Monday that anyone caught vandalizing monuments or any other federal property can be subject to arrest and face up to 10 years in prison.
The president’s latest statement follows an attempt to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square near the White House Monday night, a second incident targeting the nearby St. John’s Church, and prior vandalism of the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial.
“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!”
Ernst said that defunding the police is “just a liberal talking point” simply to be provocative instead of “solving the issues.”
“Again, that’s done through peaceful dialogue and actually finding solutions. Real solutions to these very, very hard questions," she said. "Let’s have real discussion, let’s sit down and work through these issues. We’re not going to find it by vandalizing statues, we’re not going to find it by inciting violence in the streets. That’s not how we will come to our solution.”