House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday questioned whether the U.S. is devolving into a banana republic in light of President Trump’s stop in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House earlier this week.
“For peaceful demonstrators to make way — make way for the president to walk through … what is this, a banana republic?” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Law enforcement had cleared protesters near the White House on Monday as Mr. Trump was preparing to deliver a Rose Garden speech on the ongoing unrest in the country after the killing of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.
The U.S. Park Police on Tuesday said officials did not use tear gas and the protesters had started throwing projectiles, though witnesses on the scene had said the demonstration was largely peaceful.
“Maybe they didn’t have tear gas — I don’t know. But they had elements of it,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Democrats and some religious leaders have harshly criticized Mr. Trump after he made the dramatic walk over near the vandalized church, held up a Bible and walked back to the White House.
The president said late Tuesday that he’s gotten positive reviews and name-checked three Republican senators who had issued mild rebukes.
“You got it wrong! If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before?” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “People liked my walk to this historic place of worship! Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Ben Sasse.”
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