The Senate’s top Democrat compared the Trump administration’s use of the military to protect the Lincoln Memorial from protester damage to the 1989 Chinese government crackdown and killing of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.
“Rows of camouflaged troops standing at attention on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, like an occupying force defending a critical position,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. “When you see the image of troops dressed for combat, flanking the Lincoln Memorial, an altar to freedom, you cannot help but think of Tiananmen Square.”
President Trump ordered the D.C. National Guard to line the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after protesters vandalized the site over the weekend with black spray paint.
The presence of the troops drew sharp criticism from some who said it was unwarranted.
“I never thought I’d live to see the day when troops would be guarding the Lincoln Memorial,” Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, tweeted.
Democrats have been critical of Trump’s efforts to quell the riots in Washington, D.C. They condemned the use of gas and flash-bang devices to clear Lafayette Park, across from the White House, after protesters set a church on fire and hurled projectiles at the police.
The park was cleared moments before Trump crossed through it to visit St. John’s Church, which was set ablaze by protesters on Sunday.
Democrats accused Trump of hurting peaceful protesters for a photo op.
Schumer accused the GOP of “just going along” with Trump and called on the president to provide more leadership, healing, and unity.
“There could be no greater contrast between Lincoln and this president, who seems to have malice toward all and charity for none. Who seeks to deepen our nation’s real wounds rather than bind them up,” Schumer said.
Many Republicans have ducked questions about Trump’s handling of the protests, telling reporters they have not seen the specific acts that have attracted criticism. Other Republicans say the president is acting properly to restore order to the streets and stop the rioting, looting, and violence that has persisted for the past several nights in cities across America.
Several police officers have been shot, and one retired officer was killed protecting a business from looters.
“That line has got to be drawn very clearly and we have to prevent our cities and towns from burning, and being looted,” Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, said. “We don’t want uniformed officers on our streets. Of course we don’t. But we are going to have to take steps to in a lawful way to bring this violence under control, to stop it.”
Author: Susan Ferrechio
Source: Washington Examiner: Schumer compares Trump’s Lincoln Memorial protection to Tiananmen Square