President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he had signed an executive order which established a statuary park named the “National Garden of American Heroes” to include monuments to influential historical figures. Trump’s list of proposed heroes included only one former Supreme Court justice: conservative legal icon Antonin Scalia.
Trump’s executive order – which also established a task force for “Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes” – comes in the wake of a nationwide push to remove statues memorializing Confederate leaders such as Robert E. Lee or problematic figures such as Christopher Columbus.
The proposed list of statues to be erected for the “Heroes” garden also includes the following names other than Scalia’s: John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.
During a speech in South Dakota on Friday, Trump said protesters who unlawfully tore down statues were waging a “merciless campaign” to erase U.S. history and the “memory of our national heritage.”
“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing,” Trump said during a divisive speech in front of Mount Rushmore Friday.
“They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.”
Trump last month signed an executive order which called for prosecutions “to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” for “any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property.”
Days after signing the order the president also demanded that two people suspected of defacing a statue of George Washington with paint balloons to face up to 10 years in prison.
[photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
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