DONALD Trump celebrated his exoneration after an internal report found that he did not influence police to clear Lafayette Square for his Bible photo op.
In a statement released today, the former President said that he had been “completely and totally” exonerated.
Donald Trump celebrated his exoneration today after a watchdog report found that he did not influence police to clear Lafayette Square[/caption]
Police officers used flash-bangs and pepper balls to disperse demonstrators[/caption]
Protesters were demonstrating against the death of George Floyd after he was killed at the hands of a police officer in May, 2020[/caption]
“Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!” Trump said in his statement.
“As we have said all along, and it 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,” the former president added.
The report from the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that the protests were cleared by Park Police so that a contractor could install new fencing near the White House.
In an accompanying report, Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt said that Park Police had already planned to clear the area and “had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential presidential visit to the park”.
Reports at the time suggested that Trump had cleared Lafayette Square for a photo-op at a nearby church.
The fence installation, beginning on June 1 last year, was due to nights of unrest in the area.
Trump on his way to St.John’s Church[/caption]
Demonstrators were protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
On June 1, protests were forced from the area with flash-bangs and pepper balls.
Just 30 minutes later, Trump was seen walking across Lafayette Park where he delivered a short speech in front of St. John’s Church, before leaving a short time later; he didn’t enter the church.
At the time, the church clergy have claimed Trump simply used the site as a photo opportunity “prop.”
The watchdog’s conclusion echoes the White House’s justification from June 3, 2020.
“In the morning, [Attorney General Bill] Barr had determined that we needed to expand the perimeter by one block on each side,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing.
“He was surprised, AG Barr when he arrived at the White House to see that the perimeter had not been moved.”
Trump also claimed last year that he did not order those protesting to be moved.
MORE DONALD TRUMP NEWS
Trump should become Speaker and impeach Biden, Marjorie Taylor Greene says
Trump calls Bitcoin a SCAM after viewers think he was wearing pants backward
Trump praises Nigeria banning Twitter and hints he wishes he'd done the SAME
Sen. Graham says Wuhan 'lab-leak' skeptics are 'covering their ass'
Impersonator 'pretended to be Trump to scam hundreds with fake election campaign'
NYT editorial writer 'disturbed' to see 'dozens of American flags' on pickups
Speaking on Fox News Radio, Trump said that “many” thought his walk over to the church in Washington, DC, and holding up the Bible while standing in front of it for a photo-op, was a “great symbol” after buildings had been burned in protests.
Shortly after, the top military official in the US apologized for walking with Trump through Lafayette Square stating “I should not have been there.”
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
Trump walks past police in Lafayette Park after visiting outside St. John’s Church across from the White House in Washington[/caption]