On June 1, 2020, a group of “protesters” in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, were cleared by law enforcement officers from various agencies.
Shortly after the clearing, then-President Donald Trump passed through the square in order to conduct a photo shoot at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The establishment media’s narrative surrounding the incident was damning.
The majority of left-leaning outlets painted the situation as follows: Trump sent out a gang of jackbooted thugs to tear-gas protesters demonstrating outside the White House so that he could walk across the street for a photo-op.
The New York Times communicated as much, with its headline reading: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.”
“People who gathered outside the White House to protest police brutality spent Monday waving signs and screaming for justice. They watched as police officers and National Guard units flooded Lafayette Square, delivering on a threat made by President Trump. And just before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew went into effect, they were hit with flash-bang explosions and doused with tear gas,” the outlet reported.
“It was because the president, who spent part of the weekend in a secure bunker as protests roiled, wanted to have his picture taken holding a Bible at a battered church just beyond the gates.”
As it turns out, this narrative was completely false.
A newly released government report found that Trump’s visit to the church had absolutely nothing to do with law enforcement officers’ decision to clear the square.
Released on Wednesday by Interior Department Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt, the report says that U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service determined the clearing of protesters was necessary so that contractors could install security fencing.
“The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church,” the report said.
In fact, the report found that the USPP, the agency overseeing Lafayette Square, had already planned to clear the park hours before learning of Trump’s intention to visit.
Also of note: The “protest” wasn’t in any way peaceful.
Police released a video of the incident shortly before the crowd was dispersed.
Warning: The following video contains violent images and vulgar language that some viewers may find disturbing.
Following the release of the report, Trump issued a statement thanking Greenblatt.
“Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!” the statement read.
“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 who are causing chaos and death to our cities.
“In this instance, they tried burning down the church the day before the clearing. Fortunately, we were there to stop the fire from spreading beyond the basement — and it was our great honor and privilege to do so.
“Again, thank you to the Inspector General!”
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