Declaring himself "your president of law and order," President Donald Trump vowed Monday to return order to American streets using the military if the violence isn't quelled, even as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets. It was all, apparently, so Trump could visit a nearby church.
The episode, which amounted to one of the most highly charged and discordant moments in recent presidential history, came as nationwide unrest escalates and as Trump comes under pressure to demonstrate a modicum of conciliation for a country torn along racial, ideological and political lines.
He did not offer that on Monday, choosing instead to retrench. He called violent protests "domestic acts of terror" which law enforcement would "dominate the streets" to quell.
"If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said.
With the constant sound of helicopter blades overhead and a steady succession of bangs from nearby Lafayette Park, Trump declared himself an "ally of all peaceful protesters."
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