McConnell says monuments to Founding Fathers ‘being roped to the ground like they are Saddam Hussein’

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday slammed the “far-left” push to take down statues to controversial historical figures, saying the monuments are being roped to the ground “like they are Saddam Hussein.”

McConnell, R-Ky., on the Senate floor Tuesday, recalled his comments earlier this month when he noted that civil discourse in America “faces a crossroads.” Since then, protests against police brutality that had escalated into riots have largely returned to being peaceful -- but a push to target statues has rapidly accelerated, expanding beyond those of Confederate figures to include likenesses of everyone from Christopher Columbus to Ulysses S. Grant.

FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO ULYSSES S. GRANT: STATUES, MONUMENTS VANDALIZED EXTEND BEYOND CONFEDERATES AMID BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS

“Well, recent days have reminded us it is not just our present-day debates that far-left radicals want to overwhelm,” he said. “They also want to rewrite our past.”

McConnell listed the monuments that have been defaced in recent days—noting that in Portland, Ore., a mob “graffitied a statute of our first President, pulled it down, and burned an American flag over his head. This is George Washington.”

McConnell said another Washington statue was defaced in Baltimore, a statue of Thomas Jefferson was ripped down in Portland, and others were targeted.

“This is the general and first President who built our nation, and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Genius statesmen who helped begin this grand experiment that has brought freedom to hundreds of millions and saved the world a few times for good measure,” McConnell said. “And yet a crazy fringe is treating their monuments like vanity statues of tinhorn tyrants.”

He added: “Our Founding Fathers are being roped to the ground like they were Saddam Hussein. The list goes on.”

McConnell was referring to the famous moment in 2003 when a 40-foot bronze statue of the Iraqi dictator was roped and pulled to the ground, symbolizing the end of his regime.

TRUMP CALLS FOR ARRESTS, PRISON TIME FOR VANDALS TARGETING MONUMENTS

Meanwhile, President Trump declared Tuesday morning 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 statement followed 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!”

Historical monuments and statues have become the targets of anger and vandalism during protests in the wake of George Floyd's police custody death at the end of May.

The initial statues under fire were those of Confederate soldiers and generals largely in the South, but the anger has spread to monuments well beyond that historical period.