(PresidentialWire.com)-President Donald Trump has taken a hardline, aggressive stance against people around the country who are protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
On Monday, he said he would deploy “thousands and thousands” of heavily-armed soldiers to Washington, D.C., to protect against protests that have turned violent in recent days, some right outside the White House. While he said he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters,” Trump said he wouldn’t stand for the violence and looting that’s happening at many of these protests.
“I will fight to protect you,” Trump said to people worried about the violence in their cities. “I am your president of law and order.”
He then spoke more directly about the inability of local governments and law enforcement agencies to quell the violence, saying:
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capital, Washington, D.C. What happened in the city last night was a total disgrace.
“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property.”
Just moments after his speech, police used tear gas, batons and shields to beat back a group of protestors that many sources have claimed were peaceful in nature. This was all done to clear a way for Trump to visit St. John’s Church, which sustained damage to its basement from a fire caused by protestors.
While there, Trump posed with a Bible and said:
“We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going to keep it nice and safe.”
Not everyone was happy with Trump’s visit to the church, nor the way in which he had the crowd cleared so he could make his way there.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde was one of those people who weren’t happy, saying in response:
“The President just used a Bible and one of the churches 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 church yard. I am outraged.”
Similarly, Libby Garvey, a member for the Arlington County Board in Virginia, where officers were recalled from to support the efforts in Washington, D.C., tweeted:
“We ordered @ArlingtonVAPD to immediately leave DC. Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op.”
The agreement she was referring to with the U.S. Park Police put roughly 40 officers from Arlington in Washington, D.C., to serve as backup to keep people safe. On Monday, the Arlington County Board release a statement saying:
“At the direction of the County Board, County Manager and Police Chief, all ACPD officers left the District of Columbia at 8:30 tonight. The County is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.”