The Trump administration has activated 400 National Guard troops to protect monuments in Washington from vandals and demonstrators who have been defacing and toppling statues.
The troops have not been deployed to monument sites yet, the Pentagon said Wednesday, but they’re on standby at the D.C. Armory. They could be used to support Park Service police “at key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he requested the National Guard troops and other resources.
“We will protect these places with dispatch and severity!” he tweeted.
The move comes as protesters are threatening to tear down Lincoln’s Emancipation Statue in the nation’s capital on Thursday. The statue has stood since 1876 in Lincoln Park, a National Park Service property in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting member of Congress, wants the statue removed peaceably. She said the statue, which depicts Lincoln standing next to a crouching freed slave, is “problematic.”