The president concluded his Rose Garden address by announcing his intention to “pay my respects to a very, very special place.” From there, Trump departed, walking to the historic church that rioters targeted on Sunday night.
Authorities cleared out protesters ahead of Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 7:00 p.m. curfew and Trump’s walk to the church.
Philip Wegmann, White House Correspondent for RealClearPolitics,
indicated that protesters were “warned 3 times over loud speaker by park service and police to clear the area,” citing a source with “direct knowledge” of the events.
Nonetheless, enraged progressives took to social media to express outrage over both the president’s speech — vowing to assume command in the event that governors fail to subdue violent rioters — and his subsequent action, holding up a Bible in front of the historic church alongside members of his staff.
“The President of the United States tear-gassed peaceful protestors in order to clear the way for a useless photo-op outside the White House–just after vowing to activate the military against our own people,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) raged:
“He’s using the American military against the American people. He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo,” Joe Biden (D), the Democrat Party’s presumptive nominee, said in a post, echoing Warren:
Failed Trump challenger Hillary Clinton also weighed in.
“Tonight the President of the United States used the American military to shoot peaceful protestors with rubber bullets & tear gas them. For a photo op,” she declared.
“This is a horrifying use of presidential power against our own citizens, & has no place anywhere, let alone in America. Vote,” she pleaded:
“I don’t know anyone in ‘Antifa.’ But I’m against facism [sic]. And @realDonaldTrump is a fascist,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a prominent Trump critic, asserted:
A collection of celebrities, lawmakers, and political personalities espoused similar sentiments:
As Breitbart News
reported, the widespread depiction of “peaceful protests” has been largely inaccurate, as many protests have been dominated by looting, fires, and violence against officers:
Over the past three days, rioters outside the White House have violently clashed with Secret Service officers, torn down barricades, assaulted journalists (including Breitbart News reporter Matthew Perdie), vandalized historic buildings and monuments, and lit multiple fires, including one that caused damage to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, opposite the White House.
Riots and violence in D.C. and around the White House have led to a full mobilization of the D.C. National Guard. Several other National Guard units were activated in D.C. over the past three days ahead of full mobilization.
Such chaos is what seemingly drove the president to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday evening.