Administration

Trump pushes back against GOP senators’ criticism of dispersal of protesters in Lafayette Square: ‘You got it wrong’

President Trump is pushing pushed back against Republican senators’ criticism of the dispersal of protesters from Lafayette Square across from the White House before he took photos in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, saying in a Tuesday night tweet that they “got it wrong.”

The president specifically called out Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), citing an article from The Federalist, a conservative online magazine. 

“You got it wrong!” Trump posted. “If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before? People liked my walk to this historic place of worship!”

The article Trump pointed to is titled, “Media Falsely Claimed Violent Riots Were Peaceful And That Tear Gas Was Used Against Rioters.”

According to reporters on the scene, law enforcement used tear gas to remove demonstrators, who were protesting the death of George Floyd, from Lafayette Square in front of the White House on Monday at least 15 minutes before D.C.’s 7 p.m. curfew. 

Acting U.S. Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan, however, said law enforcement used pepper balls and smoke canisters to disperse the crowd and objected to reports that have said tear gas was utilized against the protesters.

Shortly after the incident, the president walked to St. John’s Church and posed for photos while holding a Bible.

Several Democrats and a few Republicans have condemned the treatment of these protesters. 

Collins said she thought the dispersal was “unsympathetic” and “painful to watch,” while Sasse said he disagreed with the decision to remove the protesters for a “photo op” and asserted Trump used the Bible as a “political prop.” 

Lankford said that it was “definitely not” right for tear gas to be used on the demonstrators and criticized the timing of the walk to the church, saying “everyone knew there were going to be protesters in that area” right before the curfew, according to Politico.

Several other Republican senators dodged questions on Monday’s removal of demonstrators from Lafayette Square.

Tags Ben Sasse Donald Trump George Floyd George Floyd death George Floyd protests James Lankford Lafayette Square St. John's Episcopal Church Susan Collins tear gas White House

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