An executive order that then-President Donald Trump signed demanding the prioritization of prosecuting those who damage monuments has now been revoked by President Joe Biden.
Generally speaking, damage to monuments definitely isn’t some kind of pressing national security issue. While in office, Trump repeatedly spoke out against those who opposed the continued presence of monuments memorializing the Confederacy. At one point, he even vetoed a defense spending bill over a provision that it included to remove Confederate names from U.S. military installations. Both chambers of Congress eventually voted to override that veto, and the defense spending bill was enacted, no matter Trump’s disapproval.
Meanwhile, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale describes the Trump executive order that Biden has newly revoked as the order that Trump “kept saying gave 10 years in prison to people who damage monuments but did not actually do that.” In short, Dale explained, the order “said the Attorney General shall make it a priority to prosecute monument-damagers, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of existing laws,” but those existing laws provide for what Dale describes as a “very-much-not-mandatory maximum of 10 years in prison.” In other words, there were no systematic and automatic 10-year prison sentences for damaging monuments.
(The now-revoked order said the Attorney General shall make it a priority to prosecute monument-damagers, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of existing laws. Those laws provide for a very-much-not-mandatory maximum of 10 years in prison.)
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 14, 2021
This week, Biden also revoked an executive order that Trump had signed providing for the construction of a so-called “National Garden of American Heroes,” which never had funding appropriated by Congress, no matter the former president’s efforts. Just days before he left office, Trump signed an executive order listing over 240 “heroes” who would receive a statue in the planned garden, and the list was… sprawling, to say the least. It included figures like the late television host Alex Trebek and the late tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs, and grouping these many people together generally seemed like more of a monument to Trump’s egotistical obsession with public theatrics than a meaningful honor.
Inbox: Biden revokes Trump's Executive Order on "Building the National Garden of American Heroes"
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 14, 2021
Across the federal government, Biden has — besides establishing his own wide-reaching new policy initiatives like the American Rescue Plan and the currently-in-development infrastructure spending plan — consistently undone key Trump moves.