This column originally appeared in the Washington Times.
President Trump was elected in large part on the issue of law and order. It’s been an issue for generations in this country, as Americans have watched the decline of social cohesion ever since the left enjoyed sympathetic coverage by the mass media during the Vietnam War.
What we are seeing today with riots, vandalism and the wanton destruction of public property and art is a natural and cancerous outgrowth of the encouragement and coddling of leftists and their violent but farcical anarchy.
The good news is, we are seeing Mr. Trump emerge, once again, as the right man at the right time. After weeks of seeing chaos and anarchy unfold on the streets with no apparent response from law enforcement at any level, the White House and Department of Justice have begun to make it clear that there will be serious repercussions for those engaging in mob violence.
This should be a no-brainer, but the Republican Party has a historic problem known as “No Spine Syndrome.” The GOP has been scrambling for its binky and hoping no one would knock on their door. Not needing the help of sucklings, Mr. Trump stepped forward.
He tweeted on June 26, “I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues — and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”
That order “enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration. It also provides assistance for protecting the federal statues,” Fox News reported.
This aggressive federal posture sends a message, in fact it gives permission, to hesitant and even frightened local leaders, that capturing and punishing the mob is a priority.
Cases in point: On June 27, The Oklahoman reported, “Protesters blamed for the violence that broke out in Oklahoma City the last weekend in May were charged Friday with terrorism, rioting and assault. … Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater made the decisions himself on the charges in a get-tough approach meant to deter others from going too far during protests in the future. ‘This is not Seattle,’ Prater said Friday. ‘We’re not putting up with this lawlessness here.’”
In Colorado, the governor is “warning protestors that ‘destruction and vandalism are not the answer’ after three suspects were arrested in connection to a fire set to a pedestal of a toppled Civil War monument outside the State Capitol building,” Fox News reported.
On Friday, June 26, I had the opportunity of guest hosting for Laura Ingraham on Fox News and spoke with acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. I told him how disturbing it was to see wanton anarchy in various cities with apparently no arrests or repercussions for the mob. Here’s part of that exchange:
KEN CUCCINELLI: “We can go around the country and I can rattle off places where federal forces have been employed to deal with local violence, not peaceful protesting, local violence. And that’s still going on — the president still has us leaning forward doing that.”
TAMMY BRUCE: “Have there been arrests? How many arrests have there been? We know that these are televised events, felonies are occurring, property being destroyed.”
CUCCINELLI: “There have been arrests.”
BRUCE: “How many?”
CUCCINELLI: “Yeah, there have been arrests. I don’t actually know the total number, but it’s an enormous number. And I’ll tell you there are a large number of federal investigations going on right now following up on the violence you’ve seen, the destruction you’ve seen.”
The next Monday, the White House press secretary noted at the start of her briefing that there had been more than 100 arrests, with 200 investigations ongoing. Additionally, the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force arrested four men for vandalism of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park.
Indicative of the president’s commitment to acting quickly against the mob, on Tuesday he responded to the vandalism of the iconic statues of George Washington in New York City’s Washington Square Park.
He tweeted, “We are tracking down the two Anarchists who threw paint on the magnificent George Washington Statue in Manhattan. 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!”
This incident will ruin the lives of the two people captured on surveillance video, and should send a significant message to every menace who thinks they can act with impunity.
The president is illustrating that law and order is of paramount importance and is at the foundation of everything else. We know he understands the policy issues on which he was elected, but now it is more important than ever to show the American people that he’s acting to secure this nation, as the legacy media is working overtime to convince us that chaos reigns. Why? Because, like abusers and batterers everywhere, they tell you if you just surrender, they’ll stop hurting you. That’s a lie, and it will be rejected in November.