Trump signs executive order for ‘Garden of American Heroes’ memorial

Outgoing president says the garden is 'America's answer’ to a ‘reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire life’

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 19 January 2021 16:39 GMT
Melania Trump shares farewell address video

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Donald Trump has updated plans to build a "National Garden of American Heroes" as he prepares to leave the White House.

Plans for the project were first put in place last summer in response to the vandalising of statues, amid a wave of social unrest following the police killing of black Americans.

The outgoing president on Monday issued an amended executive order (EO) to construct the garden, which will commemorate some of the country's most iconic figures.

The garden is being built to "to reflect the awesome splendour of our country's timeless exceptionalism", a White House statement said.

Some of the those to be honoured in the garden include the late supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late basketball player Kobe Bryant, and the former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died in November last year.

Mr Trump first floated the idea of building a memorial garden in July 2019 while delivering a speech at Mount Rushmore, home to the famous scultpures of the former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

The White House statement did not specify where the garden will be built, but it did feature the names of some 200 people who are set to feature in it.

The former boxer Muhammad Ali and singer Whitney Houston are some of the other iconic figures that will feature. Christopher Columbus, credited with discovering America, is also on the list, although he was born in Italy.

Mr Trump said the garden is "America's answer" to a "reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire life."

The updated order came just two days before Mr Trump leaves the White House under a cloud of scandal following four years of chaos as president.

Mr Trump is also said to be considering a raft of pardons before Joe Biden officially becomes the new president.

He is expected to issue more than 100 pardons and commutations on his last full day in office. 

Two sources familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr Trump appeared to have been dissuaded from pardoning himself or members of his family, Reuters reported.

The rapper Lil Wayne is reportedly among those set to be excused. He pleaded guilty last month to possessing a loaded, gold-plated handgun when his chartered jet landed in Miami in December 2019.  

He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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