News & Politics

The Washington Monument Was Vandalized With Red Paint

A man is in custody, and a preservation team is working to remove the message.

Photo by Keely Bastow.

The Washington Monument was defaced on Tuesday, and a person has been arrested for vandalism, according to the US Park Police. Videos and photos circulating on Twitter show the monument painted with red letters: “Have you been fucked by this … Gov says tough shit.” In an alert posted to Twitter on Tuesday night, the Park Police noted that they had a man in custody. The area was closed last night but has since been reopened, and visitors can still visit the 555-foot tall attraction.

The cleanup effort is already underway. Mike Litterst, a spokesperson for the National Parks Service, told Washingtonian that a team of NPS’ in-house conservators came out at 5 AM on Wednesday morning to begin the removal process. This isn’t the first time the team of stone and marble preservation pros have worked with paint: They employed the same strategies when the Lincoln Monument was splashed with light green coloring in 2013. The team will conduct a series of paint remover treatments over the next few days until the job is done.

Photo by Keely Bastow.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.

Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.