PHILADELPHIA—The Museum of the American Revolution was vandalized the night before it was to host Moms for Liberty, a parental rights advocacy organization, after several other organizations had condemned the museum for hosting the group.

Vandals spray-painted “F— You” on a mural of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, the plaque commemorating the event, and broke the window in a door leading into the museum during Wednesday night or early morning Thursday.

The defacement of the American Revolution Museum follows outrage from leftist activists after Moms for Liberty announced it would be holding an opening event for the annual summit at the museum.

In a tweet, Moms for Liberty said it was “devastated” about the vandalism:

We are devastated to see [the Museum of the American Revolution] targeted last night by hateful vandals who broke windows and destroyed historical symbols of our country’s freedom.

The core of a free republic is to allow for the peaceful discussion of different ideas.

We pray for peace in the days ahead.

Safety concerns increased after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a progressive activist group, labeled Moms for Liberty an “anti-government extremist group” and put the group on a “hate group” map.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center has put a target on the back of every mom that wants to stand up and speak out on behalf of her child and we take that very seriously so we have invested in extra security,” Tina Descovich, a Florida school board member who co-founded Moms for Liberty, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday.

Descovich added that the organization had received “numerous threats.”

Pennsylvania state Sen. Nikil Saval, a Democrat, wrote a letter to the Museum of American Revolution’s president and CEO, R. Scott Stephenson, urging the museum to cancel the Moms for Liberty event scheduled for Thursday.

“Moms for Liberty, put plainly, is a hate group,” Saval wrote, joined by five other state senators.

The American Historical Association also sent a letter urging the museum to cancel. The association accused Moms for Liberty of attempting “to silence and harass teachers,” and claimed the organization’s “mission is to obstruct the professional responsibilities of historians.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Organization of American Historians, the National Council on Public History, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and the Committee on L.G.B.T.Q. History had all spoken out, condemning the Moms for Liberty conference being held at the museum.

These protests against the museum culminated in a crowd flying LGBTQ+ flags and the Pan-African flag screaming at the event attendees from behind a fence and a line of Philadelphia police officers as attendees entered the building:

Moms for Liberty’s Descovich told the gathered crowd in her opening address that that the staff of the Museum of the American Revolution “were under a lot of pressure and they have stood strong, held to their contract, and are staying neutral because they want history to be told.”

The museum declined to provide a comment to The Daily Signal concerning the vandalism.

One Philadelphia police officer holding the line against the protesters told me that the vandalism had been reported to the police department and was currently under investigation.

The Moms for Liberty annual Joyful Warrior Summit is continuing through July 2. Several Republican presidential candidates—President Donald Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Vivek Ramaswamy—are slated to speak.

Jay Richards, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the The Heritage Foundation, says he thinks the protests probably backfired. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“It’s surreal that moms defending their children and their country would be subject to such protest and harassment,” says Richards. “But my impression is that the protests probably backfired—the moms seemed almost energized by the opposition. They’re not going to stop because a few people libel and slander them.”

Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.

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