Mass news outlets allegedly spread misleading information on civil unrest in the nation’s capital, the president said.
The Oval Office has rejected what it calls false mainstream media claims that authorities used tear gas to forcefully drive out Americans who were peacefully protesting against police brutality at Lafayette Square in downtown Washington.
“Media falsely claimed violent riots were peaceful and that tear gas was used against rioters,” President Donald Trump said on Twitter. “Fake news is hurting our country so badly.”
The remarks came after extreme protests swept across the nation, following the death in custody of Minnesotan George Floyd who local police allegedly handcuffed, kneed his throat, and caused him to become unresponsive and later die on May 25.
NBC News claimed it witnessed the Lafayette incident first hand and reported the protesters were peaceful until police and the National Guard tried to disperse the crowd.
“I want to be super clear about what did and did not happen right there, nothing happened on the side that the protesters were in … it was by far the most peaceful day of protest that we have had in D.C. since this started on Friday night,” MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake said in a live broadcast. “We had mounted federal police coming down H Street from east to west, clearing people out of the street. In front of them, they were using flash bangs, tear gas, I lost my regular mask and had to replace it with my gas mask so that we could continue to report.”
Haake alleged the incident occurred between 150 to 200 yards from the front gate of the White House, and described the experience as completely astonishing.
“That is what I experienced, that is what the tape shows, that is what history is going to show for tonight, and I am a little shook by the whole thing to be completely honest with you,” he said. “It was an absolutely extraordinary thing to see and experience with the White House in my peripheral vision.”
Democratic Attorney General Karl Racine also fueled confusion by accusing the Trump administration of taking a totalitarian approach to the “peaceful” group.
“As the district reels from a night of chaos sparked by a tyrannical president, local government must offer a promise to all residents: We are with you, and we will protect you,” he said in a statement. “Trump ordered federal law enforcement and military police to assault peaceful protesters and clergy exercising their constitutional rights—unconscionably, for a photo opportunity. He intended to shift the conversation away from police brutality.”
However, the president questioned why Racine and news reports ignored the protesters’s alleged arson attack against the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is also known as the “Church of the Presidents.”
“If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the church on fire the night before?” he said on Twitter. “People liked my walk to this historic place of worship … you got it wrong.”