Tom Cotton: 'Mob violence' against historic sites must be met with arrests and prosecutions

Sen. Tom Cotton said on Wednesday that there have to be legal consequences for "mob violence" against historic statues in the United States.

“There couldn’t be a more clear cut, open and shut violation of the law, called the Veterans Memorial Preservation Act. That law makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years, to deface or tear down or attempt to tear down a statue commemorating someone's military service on federal property,” the Republican Arkansas lawmaker told “Fox & Friends.”

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President Trump used much of his speech in Arizona Tuesday evening to deride his liberal opponents and criticize their rhetoric amid weeks of protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Speaking at a “Students for Trump” event inside a church in Phoenix, Trump railed against the “oppressive left-wing ideology” and criticized the calls to remove statues of and monuments of controversial historical figures.

"The radical left hates our history, hates our values,” Trump said. “This is not the behavior of a peaceful movement. It is the behavior of a totalitarian movement.”

Trump added: “If you give power to people that topple monuments… then nothing is safe.”

Andrew Jackson, who has faced ire in the present day for his severe treatment of Native Americans, was the latest historical figure targeted by protesters demanding monuments and memorials of those with racist pasts be taken down. Reuters reported that while protesters failed to take down the Jackson statue, it was defaced Monday night with “killer scum” written on the pedestal.

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Cotton said that the defacers of the Andrew Jackson memorial videotaped themselves committing a crime and posted it on social media.

“The Department of Justice and the FBI should investigate, arrest, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. There has to be legal consequences for this mob violence. Otherwise, it is only going to get worse with every passing day,” Cotton said, adding that the "mob vigilantes hate America."