Joe Biden revokes Donald Trump’s order punishing statue vandals

India; Mask distribution
An Indian social activist distributes masks to pedestrians in Hyderabad, India

Donald Trump’s executive order protecting US monuments, memorials and statues has been cancelled by his successor Joe Biden, who also called off the former president’s planned national garden of American heroes.

In his own executive order, President Biden revoked Mr Trump’s decree in June 2020 calling for the federal government to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” acts of vandalism and destruction to statues on federal property.

That order came in response to the defacement of statues — particularly those honouring the Confederacy — during nationwide protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. These demonstrations later spread around the world.

Mr Biden also abolished the Trump-formed task force to create the new garden monument, which the former president proposed last year and which he wanted to feature sculptures of dozens of American historical figures including Davy Crockett, Billy Graham, Whitney Houston, Harriet Tubman and Antonin Scalia.

But no site was selected and the garden was never funded by Congress.

Mr Biden’s decree also revoked Mr Trump’s May 2020 order calling for the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies for labeling or removing posts or entire accounts in what the then president claimed was a restriction on free speech.

That order came before Mr Trump himself was removed from platforms like Twitter and Facebook after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

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