After federal law enforcement officers cleared a group of protesters out of Lafayette Park in Washington ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump to a historic church there, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned authorities for using tear gas against the allegedly peaceful demonstrators. But now, it seems she’s now walking that allegation back.
“Maybe they didn’t have tear gas, I don’t know,” the San Francisco Democrat confessed during a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to Breitbart.
Pelosi made the admission to host Joe Scarborough as she recalled statements made by her daughter, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, who the House speaker claims was present at the event.
“She said, ‘Mom, you wouldn’t even believe it. These people were demonstrating peacefully. And all of a sudden, this barrage of security came through, using clubs to beat people, and these explosive Skat — little bullets that explode into stuff that burns your eyes,'” Pelosi said. “Maybe they didn’t have tear gas, I don’t know, but they had the elements of it for peaceful demonstrators to make way for the president to walk through. What is this, a banana republic?”
She’s not the only one
Of course, Pelosi was not alone in accusing authorities of using excessive force against demonstrators in D.C. Former Vice President Joe Biden made a similar contention during a recent speech in Philadelphia, as Breitbart reported separately.
Calling those involved “peaceful protesters,” Biden complained that “using tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo-op” was evidence “the president is more interested in power than in principle.”
“Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either. But I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division,” Biden added, according to CNBC. “I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country — not use them for political gain.”
But while Biden and his counterparts may insist the protesters in D.C. have been “peaceful,” a statement released by the United States Park Police (USPP) said the individuals in question were behaving anything but peacefully.
“During four days of demonstrations, 51 members of the USPP were injured; of those, 11 were transported to the hospital and released and three were admitted,” acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan wrote.
“At approximately 6:33 p.m., violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles, and caustic liquids,” he continued. “The protesters also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats, and metal poles hidden along the street.”
While Monahan acknowledged that smoke was deployed, he stressed — contrary to Pelosi and Biden’s assertions — that “USPP officers and other assisting law enforcement partners did not use tear gas or OC Skat Shells to close the area at Lafayette Park.”
“Restoring the nation”
Biden’s claim in particular brought a sharp response from Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pearson, who complained in a statement that the former VP stands “with the rioters, the people burning businesses in minority communities, and causing mayhem.” Pearson went on to point out that members of Biden’s staff have been raising bail money for people who have been arrested.
“Over the course of his public life, Joe Biden has used the politics of racial division when they suited his needs and he is doing it again,” Pearson alleged. “In contrast, President Trump has addressed the nation twice, expressed horror and sorrow for the death of George Floyd, stood with the peaceful protesters, and made it clear that he would not abide our cities being overtaken by violent, uncontrollable rioters.
“President Trump is restoring the nation to order and is clearly the leader we need to return the country to peace and prosperity,” she concluded.