Trump Threatens to End Protests with Military Force
Declaring himself “your president of law and order,” US President Donald Trump vowed Monday to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled, even as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets, CNN reported.
The episode, which amounted to one of the most highly charged and discordant moments in recent presidential history, came as nationwide unrest escalates and as Trump comes under pressure to demonstrate a modicum of conciliation for a country torn along racial, ideological and political lines.
He did not offer that on Monday, choosing instead to retrench. He called violent protests “domestic acts of terror” which law enforcement would “dominate the streets” to quell.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions 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,” Trump said.
With the constant sound of helicopter blades overhead and a steady succession of bangs from nearby Lafayette Park, Trump declared himself an “ally of all peaceful protesters.”
But as he was speaking, peaceful protesters were being urgently dispersed outside the White House gates by police using rubber bullets, tear gas and flash bangs. Several protesters were seen pouring water into their eyes to ease the gas’s sting.
Peaceful demonstrations began in Minneapolis last week following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a police officer’s knee to the neck for nearly nine minutes. But the protests descended into violence at times and quickly spread from coast to coast, with participants setting fire to and looting businesses, and clashing with law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear.
For the past three days, the uproar has lasted well into the night despite local leaders’ imposing curfews, and has teetered on the president’s front yard and the surrounding areas. Dozens of state leaders have called in the National Guard to restore order, a move Trump cheered and urged other governors to replicate.