On Monday evening, Pelosi and Schumer released a joint statement insisting the display in Washington D.C.’s, Lafayette Square “dishonors every value that faith teaches us.”
The top Democrats ripped the president’s Rose Garden speech and photo op outside of the riot-damaged St. John’s Church — the 200-year-old historic parish, known as “the Church of the Presidents.”
“At a time when our country cries out for unification, this President is ripping it apart,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “Tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that the President could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us.”
Tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that the President could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 2, 2020
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pelosi and Schumer are urging “all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans” to change the rhetoric and opt for unity instead of increasing the divide.
“We call upon the President, law enforcement and all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans. Together, we must insist on the truth that America must do much more to live up to its promise: the promise of liberty and justice for all, which so many have sacrificed for – from Dr. King to John Lewis to peaceful protestors on the streets today.
Pelosi and Schumer went on to describe Trump’s actions as “cowardly” and “weak.”
“At this challenging time, our nation needs real leadership. The President’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry, and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous,” they wrote.
The joint statement follows Trump’s press briefing in the Rose Garden on Monday. Despite protesters peacefully demonstrating before curfew, military force assisted local law enforcement to clear the streets for the president’s walk to the church.
See the footage below:
Quite the split-screen here as Trump promises to dispatch "heavily armed soldiers" while protesters throw tear gas canisters away from the crowd. pic.twitter.com/kMlwTiCeLy— Cameron Peters (@jcameronpeters) June 1, 2020
Protesters were teargassed and forcefully moved on the evening when Trump claimed to be an “ally of all peaceful protesters.” He also threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act, which would empower him to deploy military troops within the United States in certain circumstances.
However, legal experts have commented on the president’s authority regarding the Insurrection Act.
Robert Chesney, professor of national security law at the University of Texas argues that successfully challenging the president’s use of the law may be “very unlikely.”
“The law, for all practical purposes, leaves this to the president with very little judicial review with any teeth,” Chesney said.