UPDATED 2:10 PM PT — Wednesday, June 3, 2020
This week, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany weighed in on the nation’s ongoing protests. She acknowledged the First Amendment gives Americans the right to peacefully assemble, but pointed out it does not give anyone the right to riot loot and set things on fire.
She’s also reiterated police did not tear gas protesters at D.C.’s Lafayette Square on Monday before the president walked from the White House to St. John’s Church.
“The protesters were told three times over loudspeaker that they needed to move. It grew increasingly unruly. There were projectiles being thrown at officers, frozen water bottles were being thrown at officers, various other projectiles. The officers had no other choice than in that moment to act, make sure that they were safe and that the perimeter was pushed back. As we all know, a church was burning in that very area the night before, so the appropriate action was taken.” – Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary
She also noted the president has not lost confidence in Defense Secretary Mark Esper after he said he does not support using the military to contain the protests.
Esper has also dismissed the mainstream media’s portrayal of his visit to St. John’s Church with President Trump. He has said they went to Lafayette Park to thank the National Guard for their efforts and review damage at the church.
The secretary stressed he had no idea there was anything political involved when the president took a photograph with a bible. He also dismissed reports the National Guard used tear gas to clear out protesters before the group made their walk.
“First, National Guard did not fire rubber bullets or tear gas into the crowd as reported,” he stated. “Second, guardsmen were instructed to wear helmets and personal protection equipment for their own protection, not to serve as some form of intimidation.”
Esper went on to say he’s instructed officials to investigate why a National Guard helicopter was hovering above the group of protesters that same day.