Despite reports and footage suggesting otherwise, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that police "peaceably" cleared protesters Monday from Lafayette Square before President Trump passed through the area so he could pose for photos in front of nearby St. John's Church.
In response to a question from CNN's Jim Acosta about whether the White House would take a do-over on the methods of crowd dispersement, McEnany said officers acted appropriately, noting that there were no fatalities or serious injuries. She also claimed officers had a right to defend themselves because they were under threat from demonstrators hurling bricks and frozen water bottles at them, alongside reports of caches of various potential weapons like baseball bats and glass bottles "hidden along the streets."
Jim Acosta says "[Dr. King] likely would not have approved of what took place Monday evening across from the White House..." when Trump visited the church.@PressSec isn't having any of it, says there was no tear gas or rubber bullets and protesters were asked to move 3 times. pic.twitter.com/LggNwwx8qS
But video from Monday shows officers forcibly moving both protesters — most of whom reporters described as peaceful — and media out of the way, indicating that McEnany may have set a pretty low bar for what she considers peaceable. Tim O'Donnell
Multiple reporters pointed out that officers used chemical agents on protesters. McEnany said "it wasn't tear gas" (despite CDC descriptions of riot control agents as "tear gas"), and said the officers "used the minimal force that they could to ensure that that situation safe"