Shaun Ray Deaton, 44, of Bloomington, Indiana, was arrested on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., the The United States Park Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
The man splashed red paint and wrote a profane message on the base of the monument, police said.
“Deaton was charged with trespassing, tampering and vandalism (36 CFR2.31). This is an initial criminal charge and, as the investigation continues, there may be additional charges,” the USPP statement said.
Work by National Park Service conservators has begun to remove the paint, and park police asked anyone with information about the incident to call their tip line at (202) 379-4877 or USPP_Tipline@nps.gov.
“The top layer of paint is coming off and the pigment that seeped into the stone will be treated with many rounds of cleaning product application,” the National Mall unit of the National Park Service said Wednesday on Twitter.
After years of construction and repairs, the Washington Monument reopens to the public.
The monument was open again on Wednesday morning.
The iconic 555-foot-tall obelisk on the National Mall honors George Washington, the country’s first president.