GOP lawmaker wants to crack down on climate change activists who deface historical artwork

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, wants to raise the stakes for climate change activists who vandalize historical artworks or damage museum property by creating harsher penalties for the crime. 

The Consequences for Climate Vandals Act, introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, would also apply to the grounds or property of the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian museums, the Kennedy Center, among others, and raise the maximum prison time from five years to 10.

The consequences would mirror the current maximum prison time in England, where climate activists have frequently glued themselves to artworks or thrown soup or other liquids on protective casings of museum pieces.

“There should be no tolerance for the vandalization of our historic works of art,” Vance said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Apparently, a maximum penalty of five years in prison isn’t enough to keep these far-left protestors from tarnishing displays of cultural significance.” 

He added, “Let’s make it 10 years and see if they’re still so bold.” 

CLIMATE ACTIVISTS TAKE HAMMERS TO FAMOUS PAINTING IN LONDON MUSEUM

In May, two protesters were indicted for smearing paint on the case of a famous Degas sculpture at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., just a month prior. 

At the time, the group of activists – known as Declare Emergency – posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that they wanted to send a message about climate change.

“Around 11 am today two parents who are terrified about their children’s futures (as well as all children) made a statement at the National Gallery in DC. Climate change will cause famine, floods, droughts and destruction unless we act now,” the post read. 

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Last month, a climate activist from the same group smeared red paint on an exhibit honoring an African American regiment that fought during the Civil War, during a protest at the National Gallery of Art.

The activist vandalized a wall in the West Building gallery of the Washington, D.C., museum that houses the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, officials told Fox News Digital at the time. Using red paint, the activist wrote, “Honor Them,” and explained President Biden could honor Black Civil War soldiers by declaring a climate emergency.

“We should honor them by carrying on their work,” the activist said in a statement. “So, I say, ‘Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency’ in their honor because the great majority of the people who are being harmed by the climate emergency now and who will be harmed in the future are people who look like the soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th.”

Last month, two climate activists took hammers to the protective glass of a famous painting in London and called for the U.K. to halt all new oil and gas projects in the country. Both were arrested and reportedly charged on suspicion of criminal damage.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report. 

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