In the wake of his latest violence against protesters who happened to be supporting a cause that he doesn’t particularly care about, President Donald Trump can not even count on the support of the members of the Republican Party. Figures including Republican Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Tim Scott of South Carolina have condemned a debacle on Monday when cops attacked peaceful anti-police brutality protesters in D.C. just to get them out of the way of a Trump photo op at a local church. The protesters were peacefully and legally demonstrating — and in order to clear the way for the president to pose for photos next to a church, they were attacked.
Just spoke with Rev. Gina Gerbasi of St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown who was at St. John's across from WH yesterday. She says she and others were driven from the area by force. “It was completely unprovoked. I didn’t hear bullhorns saying ‘the president’s coming.’”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 2, 2020
‘There is no right to riot… But there is a fundamental—a Constitutional—right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.’
BEN SASSE statement: “There is no right to riot… But there is a fundamental—a Constitutional—right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop."
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) June 2, 2020
Trump briefly held up a Bible outside St. Johns Church after cops violently cleared demonstrators from the area. He shushed reporters who asked him about the threat that he issued just moments prior to send the military into U.S. cities if local authorities fail to get the widespread protest situation under control, and after he held the Bible in an awkward pose for a short time, he went back to the White House. Priests who worked at the church are among those who got affected by the reported tear gas that was released ahead of the president’s not previously announced visit.
"In Lafayette Square, one of the visiting priests attending to St. John’s was sprayed with tear gas as she attempted to help scared demonstrators leave the area, said Bishop Budde."https://t.co/3KGuS2Nlo5
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) June 2, 2020
Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) added after noting that he didn’t think the president’s photo op was particularly “helpful”:
‘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.’
Trump, for his part, has almost entirely refused to acknowledge that the violent attack on peaceful protesters even took place.
Early Tuesday morning, he tweeted:
‘D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).’
D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2020
In reality, no matter his delusional self-congratulations for a supposed job well done, there was violence in the nation’s capital at the hands of police. Cops attacked protesters to the point that dozens had to hide out in someone’s home until the morning, and in a separate incident, a military helicopter conducted a “show of force” flyover in which they hovered barely 100 feet above the ground in an attempt to intimidate Americans in the president’s metaphorical backyard.
A U.S. military helicopter used a "show of force" maneuver as protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. on Monday night. It's a tactic often conducted by low-flying jets in combat zones to scare away insurgents. https://t.co/g9kocdpz8G https://t.co/yMvx6eVuWZ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 2, 2020
Be like 44 year old Rahul Dubey, the DC resident who sheltered ~70 protesters inside his Dupont home after police cornered them, threw teargas & attacked w/ batons last night. Protesters remained in Rahul's house through the end of curfew this morning pic.twitter.com/TMjnPrfNlg
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) June 2, 2020
Amidst the violence, Trump did get the support of at least one prominent Republican.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said:
‘I don’t know whether they were all peaceful or not, looked like they were peaceful, but only the policemen there would know if there’s some potential violence in there. And that the president’s got to be protected.’
In other words, at least some Congressional Republicans continue to prove their cowardice, while Trump’s abuses of power run rampant in the United States.
Grassley on Trump and protestors getting cleared: “I don’t know whether they were all peaceful or not, looked like they were peaceful, but only the policemen there would know if there’s some potential violence in there. And that the president’s got to be protected”
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) June 2, 2020