Tim Scott says Trump shouldn't have cleared protesters for church photo op

Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Tim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill MORE (S.C.) said President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE should not have directed federal law enforcement to use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters near the White House before walking to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“But obviously, if your question is, should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo-op, the answer is no,” Scott told Politico in a story published Tuesday morning.

Trump was photographed at the church while holding a Bible in one hand.

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St. John’s, which has been attended by every president since James Madison and sits just a block from the White House, was damaged over the weekend from a fire in its basement amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis last week.

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate and one of two in Congress, told Politico about his own experiences dealing with law enforcement. Scott has previously addressed instances in which he was racially profiled by police in the Capitol building.

“The crisis is decades of abuse within the minority communities at the hands of a minority of law enforcement officers,” Scott told the publication. “If there is any place on earth on where abuse of power matters the most for a civil society, it’s within law enforcement.”

Trump has reacted with fury to the protests across the nation, some of which have turned violent. He called on governors and local leaders to take more aggressive approaches to protesters. 

Scott told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump’s reference to a 1967 comment from a Miami police chief warning that looters would be shot was “not constructive.”