Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have blasted the president after police were ordered to clear out an area near the White House so he could make an incident-free trip to a church.
Calling on US President Donald Trump to “respect the dignity and rights of Americans” in a statement late on Monday night, Pelosi (D-California) and Schumer (D-New York) tore into the commander-in-chief after he ordered police to “dominate” the streets amid days of protests and violent unrest – sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last week.
“At a time when our country cries out for unification, this president is ripping it apart,” the two lawmakers said.
Our nation needs real leadership. This president’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous.
Earlier on Monday, after some 1,700 National Guard troops were deployed to manage protesters in the nation’s capital, President Trump and a handful of senior administration officials made an on-foot visit to St. John’s Church near the White House, which was damaged on Sunday night by vandalism and arson. The two high-profile Democrats condemned the brief photo-up.
“Teargassing peaceful protesters without provocation just so that the president could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us,” they went on.
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Trump has voiced frustration with state and city governments unwilling to crack down on the rioting – which kicked off last Wednesday in Minnesota’s Twin Cities after Floyd’s killing – insisting that he would deploy the military himself anywhere local officials fail to bring the unrest under control. That stance has come under fire from critics, who argue a crackdown may escalate the unrest and lead to greater violence.
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