Trump claimed to be an 'ally of all peaceful protesters' as peaceful protesters were fired on just a block away.
On Monday, after a week of nationwide protests against police violence, Donald Trump finally addressed the nation.
He spoke in the Rose Garden, calling himself an "ally of all peaceful protesters," as military police repeatedly fired tear gas and flash bangs at protesters who had gathered at Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.
Protesters kneeled and chanted "George Floyd" — the name of the black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for several minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and repeatedly said he could not breathe.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with murder on Friday, after several days of protests in Minneapolis.
"I am your president of law and order, and an ally of all peaceful protesters," Trump said as the shots of tear gas could be heard across the street. "But in recent days, our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others."
Trump said he is "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights."
Trump has repeatedly sought to dismiss people protesting police violence and systemic racism as nothing more than "thugs" and leftist mobs. It's a very different tone from the one he has used to talk about armed white rioters who stormed the Michigan Capitol last month, demanding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lift stay-home orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Trump praised those rioters as "very good people" and demanded the governor "give a little" and "make a deal."
After Trump concluded his Rose Garden address, he walked to St. John's Episcopal Church nearby where he posed for a photo-op while holding up a Bible with Attorney General William Barr, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Trump's new chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.