A recent government report determined that the federal police did not clear protestors from Lafayette Park near the White House last summer so the former President Donald Trump could walk to a nearby church for a photo op.
USA Today reported Wednesday that the Interior Department Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt said that U.S. Park Police and the U.S Secret Service determined it was necessary to remove the protestors from the area around the park. The federal police did not learn of Trump’s intentions to walk through the park to St. John’s Episcopal Church to see the fire damage until mid- to late afternoon. This was hours after they had begun planning for the security fencing.
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“The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church,” the report said. Police and protestors clashed and police drove them out of the park to nearby streets on June 1st, shortly before Trump walked into the park. Pepper spray and other chemical irritants were used to clear out the protestors. Not long after the report was released, Trump issued a statement thanking the inspector general “for completely and totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!”
Trump continued, “As we have said all along, an dit was backed up in today’s highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators who are causing chaos and death to our cities.” The operations commander said he hadn’t known until June 1st that Trump was coming out of the White House and into the park. “He said he replied to the Attorney General, ‘Are you freakng kidding me?’ and then hung his head and walked away. The Attorney General then left Lafayette Park.” Additionally, further weakness in communication between the USPP and the Secret Service likely contributed to the confusion during the operation.
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ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VOX