Joe Biden revokes Donald Trump’s order punishing statue vandals

15 May 2021, 05:24

Joe Biden
Biden. Picture: PA

Mr Trump made the move during protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

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.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump has been mostly silent online since his removal from Twitter and Facebook (Gerald Herbert/AP)

A proclamation from Mr Trump that required immigrants to prove they would be covered by certain health insurance plans within 30 days of entering the US or prove they could cover medical costs was also vetoed by Mr Biden.

“My administration is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Mr Biden said in revoking that proclamation.

“We can achieve that objective, however, without barring the entry of non-citizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”

By Press Association