June 2, 2020

THE OPTICS WERE DISASTROUS TOO:

Optics Over Substance (HANNAH YOEST  JUNE 2, 2020, The Bulwark)

Before the president came out to speak, peaceful protesters gathered on the north side of Lafayette Square--where the buildings were still covered in graffiti from the night before, when police beat back protesters with tear gas, flash bangs, and pepper balls. Waiting for the president's address, the protesters chanted "Hands up don't shoot," "Take a knee," and "Lock them up." At 6 p.m.--an hour before the curfew of 7 p.m., newly instituted that day by Mayor Muriel Bowser--the D.C. National Guard joined police in riot gear on the other side of barriers erected along the Square.

It had been announced that the president would speak at 6:15, but the Rose Garden podium remained empty. At about 6:35, the police began to fire tear gas and flash bangs against the crowd to clear the roads in front of Lafayette Square. Police then charged the protesters, violently beating them back.

All this happened within earshot of the reporters still waiting in the Rose Garden, who looked around as they heard the commotion. It is under these conditions that the president finally walked out to deliver a speech in which he declared himself "an ally of all peaceful protesters" before then threatening to deploy the U.S. military if governors fail to end the riots:

First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. Today, I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.

If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

The networks broadcast these ominous remarks on a split screen: On one side, the president in the Rose Garden; on the other, peaceful protesters running away from police. Loud bangs and sirens were audible.




Posted by at June 2, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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