Pelosi: 'Scary' to see uniformed troops on steps of Lincoln Memorial

Pelosi: 'Scary' to see uniformed troops on steps of Lincoln Memorial
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse votes unanimously to extend deadline for coronavirus small-business loan program Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday it was "stunning" and "scary" to see uniformed troops standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial and wrong for police officers to “rough people up” in Lafayette Square so President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE could stage a photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“They crossed a threshold,” Pelosi said at a news conference in the Capitol.

“While I have great respect for men and women in uniform, I don't think it was appropriate to have them on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,” Pelosi continued. “I don't think it was appropriate for people to rough people up in Lafayette Square who were demonstrating peacefully, so that the president could come through and do his staged event at St. John's.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Speaker said her daughter, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, was among the hundreds of people who were tear-gassed in Lafayette Square outside the White House on Monday night to clear a path for Trump and top administration officials to take photos outside an Episcopal church that rioters had tried to burn down.

“She called me after a certain period of time and she said, ‘Mom, you can't even believe what happened here. There was no trouble. It was all peaceful. And then all of a sudden these people came in, were pushing people with batons,’” the Speaker said. “And she thought she had tear gas in her eyes ... and they were roughing up people for no reason. And they crossed a threshold.”

Pelosi’s remarks, on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, come as she and other Democrats have decried the Trump administration’s militarization of the streets of Washington, D.C., in response to rioting, looting and arson that have accompanied peaceful anti-police brutality protests.

Images of dozens of uniformed troops standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this week was “stunning” and “scary,” Pelosi said.

Trump has threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to send U.S. active-duty troops to D.C. and other Americans citie to quell the civil unrest. Meanwhile, hundreds of National Guard troops and unidentified federal officers have descended upon D.C. this week to protect the White House, Capitol and other national landmarks; military helicopters have monitored the crowds from above.

ADVERTISEMENT

Moments before she spoke to reporters, Pelosi sent a letter demanding that Trump provide a list of National Guard troops and federal agencies that have deployed law-enforcement officers around the capital city.

Some federal officers policing protests in the city in recent days have been seen without any identifying labels on their uniforms, raising questions about their identity and which law enforcement agencies they represent.

“Who's in charge? What is the chain of command? And by what authority?” Pelosi asked. “We want some answers to that."