With the sound of flash bang explosions in the background, President Donald Trump on Monday evening said he would use 'all available federal civilian and military resources' to stop riots which have hit a number of cities around the nation in recent days, but offered no plan to address the issue of police brutality which spurred the unrest.
"I am your President of law and order," President Trump declared in the White House Rose Garden, echoing a theme associated with the 1968 campaign of Richard Nixon, during a time of year marked by assassinations and bloody street protests, including riots in the nation's capital.
"I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers," the President said, describing his efforts to clear the streets of protesters who have caused damage on the streets around the White House.
The President then marched over to a nearby church across Lafayette Park, which had been damaged by demonstrators.
“I am your president of law and order and an ally to all peaceful protesters."— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 1, 2020
Trump condemned "rioters," "looters," "Antifa" and others for protests sparked across the U.S. following the killing of George Floyd pic.twitter.com/pXPmPHR7JT
Trump accompanied by Stephen Miller, Derek Lyons, Keith Kellogg, Mark Meadows, Tony Ornato, Pat Cipollone, Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, Nick Luna, Bill Barr, Mark Esper, Kayleigh McEnany, Alyssa Farrah, Jared Kushner and (in a mask) Ivanka Trump. #DCProtest pic.twitter.com/QUAQz8KGd0— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 1, 2020
The President's declaration came as hundreds of National Guard troops were driven into the White House complex during the afternoon, as police moved to enforce a new 7 pm curfew in the city.
Even before the curfew began, security forces used pepper balls, tear gas, and flash bang grenades to move protestors even further away from the White House.
Democrats denounced the President's declaration.
“The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“These are not the words of a President,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “They are the words of a dictator.”
“Unleashing state violence on American protesters to create political theater for a photo op isn’t law and order, it’s a betrayal of everything our country stands for,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).
"The military should not be used against the American people," said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).