Trump boasts ‘domination’ over Washington DC protesters after using tear gas before church photo op

'Thank you President Trump,' the president wrote after claiming victory over DC protests 

Danielle Zoellner
Tuesday 02 June 2020 16:00 BST
Police fire tear gas at protesters near the White House

Donald Trump has boasted of “domination” over protesters in Washington DC, following accusations that the president had police deploy tear gas to clear his path to a church for a photo op.

“DC had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!),” the president wrote in a tweet on Tuesday after another day of unrest across the country.

The president faced backlash on Monday for his Rose Garden address about the protests erupting across the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officers. As Mr Trump promised Americans he would protect peaceful protesters, police just outside the White House fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bangs at people who all looked to be peacefully protesting in Lafayette Square.

With the protesters dispersed using police force, the president then had a path that allowed him to walk from the White House to St John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op.

The president, once at the church, then held up a Bible as he stood outside the structure.

“Is that your Bible?” a reporter is heard asking Mr Trump during the moment. He responded: “It’s a Bible.”

St John’s Episcopal Church partially burned on Sunday during protests. Every modern-day president, including Mr Trump, has attended at least one service in the church, making it a historical structure in Washington DC.

Religious leaders including Bishop Mariann Budde, the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, spoke out against what appeared to be the president’s use of force to engage in his photo op.

“Tonight President just used a Bible and a church of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard,” the bishop wrote on Twitter Monday.

She spoke to CNN on Tuesday and said the president never came to the church for an actual service.

“Let me be clear, he did not come to pray. He did not come to express remorse or consolation, he did not come to share the grief or to provide hope to the thousands of young people who were gathered in the park that day,” the bishop said, calling it all a “charade”.

Mr Trump declared himself a “law and order” president on Monday during his Rose Garden address after earlier that day calling most state governors “weak” and urging them to get tough on protesters in cities across America. The president has also said he was willing to deploy the military if state officials felt it was warranted.

Besides boasting victory in Washington DC and Minneapolis, the president also slammed the protests going on in New York City.

“Yesterday was a bad day for the Cuomo Brothers. New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum,” Mr Trump said. “The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces. Likewise, Fredo’s ratings are down 50%!”

The president was referring to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.

New York City has seen peaceful protests for multiple days in a row. Some of those at the protests have later turned violent and looting has taken place across the city. According to the president, New York had been "lost" due to the protests.

A curfew was ordered in New York City from 11pm to 5am on Monday. On Tuesday, the curfew will start at 8pm and continue every night until 8 June.

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