Well, it has finally happened. Trump ordered that peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park be fired upon and dispersed while he essentially declared martial law from the Rose Garden. America. It was fun while it lasted.
“As the sound of sirens wailed and flash bangs popped across the street, President Trump announced from the Rose Garden that he would use the U.S. military to stop the riots across the county that have been sparked by the death of George Floyd,” NBC News reports.
“To activate the military to operate in the U.S., Trump would have to invoke the 213-year-old Insurrection Act, which four people familiar with the decision had told NBC News he planned to do.”
Scott Anderson: “Important note: it’s not clear from Trump’s Rose Garden remarks that he’s yet invoking the Insurrection Act. Doing so requires him to issue a specifically worded proclamation–and he didn’t do that tonight, though he could later (in writing).”
Trump cleared out peaceful protesters for his photo op because he was upset about media coverage of him being taken to an underground bunker at the White House on Friday night as protesters gathered, CNN reports.
Trump told aides he wanted people to see him outside of the White House gates.
Police and members of the U.S. military were deployed to clear out a peaceful protest outside the White House so President Trump could walk to a church and hold up a Bible for photographers, CNN reports.
The Washington Post reports authorities used rubber bullets, flash bangs and tear gas to clear out the protesters.
Axios: “Every single aide who traveled with him — including chief of staff Mark Meadows, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Attorney General Bill Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, among several others — was white.”
George Conway: “Has there ever been a lower moment in the history of the American presidency?”
“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence.”
Budde said the Episcopal Church had about a dozen clergy at the church and Lafayette Square all day to support protesters and left when the curfew was called.”
Trump unloaded on the nation’s governors on a phone call and called on them to step up law enforcement: “You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate,” CBS News reports.
He added: “Washington was under very good control, but we’re going to have it under much more control. We’re going to pull in thousands of people. You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.”
The Washington Post says one person listening in on the call described the president’s words and tone as “unhinged.”
The Washington Post posts the audio of a 38-minute call in which President Trump berated the nation’s governors, describing them as “weak” in the face of growing racial unrest and urging them to try to “dominate” unruly protests.
“Donald Trump is scum for fueling racist hate and violence in our country.” — Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), on Twitter.
At least one participant in the call pushed back on Trump’s handling of the civil unrest that’s gripping the nation. According to CNN, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker told Trump that he’s “extraordinarily concerned with the rhetoric coming out of the White House.”
“People are feeling real pain out there,” he said. “We have to have national leadership in calling for calm.” Trump responded by saying, “I don’t like your rhetoric much either.”
Trump couldn’t even make a satisfactory condolence call to George Floyd’s brother, Philonise.
“He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd said. “It was hard. I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’
“And I just told him, I want justice. I said that I couldn’t believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight,” he said.
The brief conversation that lasted “probably two minutes” was in stark contrast to the one he had with Joe Biden: “The Vice President—I loved this conversation. He talked to me for like 10 to 15 minutes,” Philonise said. “I was trying to talk his ear off … great conversation.”
An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd’s family found his death was a “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” ABC News reports.
The medical examiner’s initial findings revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. But after the release of the independent autopsy, the Hennepin County medical examiner released an updated official autopsy that also determined that the manner of George Floyd’s death was “homicide,” ruling it was caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression.” What a coincidence. I wonder if that would have happened if the independent autopsy wasn’t conducted.
The New York Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd using security footage, witness videos and official documents to show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal.
In Minneapolis, George Floyd’s brother, Terrence, made an emotional plea at the site where Floyd was murdered by four police officers. “Let’s switch it up, y’all. Let’s switch it up. Do this peacefully, please,” Terrence Floyd said. He pleaded for peace in the streets Monday, saying destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all.” “If I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing?” he said. “You all are doing nothing. Because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all.”
“Inside the White House, the mood was bristling with tension. Hundreds of protesters were gathering outside the gates, shouting curses at President Trump and in some cases throwing bricks and bottles. Nervous for his safety, Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks,” the New York Times reports.
Associated Press: “The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.”
Barack Obama, writing on Medium: “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering. First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States…”
“Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more…”
“So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both.”
“Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said that the state’s attorney general will take the lead in any prosecutions related to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
“Walz’s decision to have Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) take the lead comes after requests from activists, some City Council members and a civil rights group, who said putting Ellison on the case would send a strong message that justice will be vigorously pursued. Walz said Ellison has the experience needed to lead the prosecution.”
“President Trump plans to visit Maine on Friday to tour a nasal swab manufacturing plant, even as the state’s governor directly warned that his trip prompted security concerns amid protests that have gripped the nation,” Bloomberg reports.
Said Gov. Janet Mills (D): “I’m very concerned that your presence may cause security problems for our state.”
Trump responded that he would look into her concerns but that he anticipated “a tremendous crowd of people showing up” and believed “most of them are very favorable, they like their president.”
Washington Post: “When Trump journeyed to the Capitol for the first time during the pandemic, he again allowed his personal concerns to eclipse the crisis engulfing the nation. Over lunch with Republican senators, Trump complained about ‘criminal’ Democrats who had ‘unmasked my children.’ He accused his political opponents of ‘treason.’ He implored his party to ‘stick together’ and ‘be tough.’ And he turned the floor over to his new White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, to deliver a campaign polling presentation aimed at persuading the lawmakers that the president was more popular than public surveys had indicated.”
“To some of the senators, Trump seemed obsessed not with saving lives but with appearing politically strong. Several privately concluded he was incapable of meeting the moment. But resigned to their belief that his conduct could not be changed, they did not share their unease with Trump or with the public. The following week, the number of dead passed 100,000 and the number of Americans filing for jobless claims went past 40 million.”
“Those two days in May encapsulate how Trump spent the fifth month of the coronavirus crisis: increasingly shaken by a pandemic he could not control; offering no more than fleeting expressions of grief or empathy; quick to assign blame to others; enraged by grievances and feuds; dismissive of health guidelines; and concerned, above all, about his diminished reelection prospects.”
New York Times: “Until now, Mr. Biden has sought to make the best of his circumstances with remote speeches, fund-raisers and interviews over Zoom, and digital advertisements.”
“Yet the president’s struggles are providing Mr. Biden with an opportunity to show an anxious nation how he might lead during these twin crises of civil unrest and a health emergency that has killed more than 100,000 Americans. The question is whether he can do this largely from the confines of his home or whether the moment has come to join other Americans — Mr. Trump among them — who have begun venturing into the world, to make his case to voters to oust a sitting president.”
“Mr. Biden may be thinking that moment has come… Presidential campaigns can be defined by moments like this.”
Gerald Seib: “The question arises, obviously, as protests and looting spread across America in the wake of the brutal police killing of a black man—shocking scenes that have come atop a once-in-a-century pandemic and a Depression-like economic slide. In a moment of crisis, it’s hard to tell when such events will simply fade away in a return to the status quo, and when they will produce lasting change in political and social structures.”
“Yet a look back at recent history suggests that it is precisely at moments like this, when shocks pile on in succession from different directions, that Americans can choose a new course.”
Playbook: “It’s difficult to divine the thinking of any politician, and especially difficult to figure out what Trump is thinking. But best we can tell — from his public tweets and the aides around him — he believes a majority of Americans should be more focused on the chaos they’re seeing on their screens than they are on racism and the systematic mistreatment of black and brown people.”
“It is not fair to say he has not addressed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis — he has — but he has dwelled far more on the looting and rioting that some have engaged in amid these protests. Here’s a maxim in politics that a source raised to us this weekend: Suburban moms — a catch-all for a kind of voter who has all but abandoned Trump — care about safety. Perhaps if they believe the unrest will come to their doorstep or into their communities, they will vote for the man who is cracking down on it.”
“The other possibility is that this might be a moment so big that it scrambles the traditional divide.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Fox News this morning: “If local politicians will not do their most basic job to protect our citizens, let’s see how these anarchists respond when the 101st Airborne is on the other side of the street.”
He later amplified his remarks: “And, if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry — whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.”
Historically, “no quarter” means that you kill people rather than arrest them. It’s a war crime.
Jonathan Bernstein: “In an episode of the original Star Trek series, called ‘The Ultimate Computer,’ a rival captain calls James T. Kirk ‘Captain Dunsel’ after a fancy new computer takes control of the Enterprise, making Kirk superfluous; Spock explains that ‘dunsel’ was cadet slang for ‘a part which serves no useful purpose.’”
“This was Donald Trump’s President Dunsel weekend. Not, as in the original, because he had been replaced; Trump simply seems to have given up on the job. He’s had no policy on the pandemic for about a month now. He basically has no policy on recovering from the economic calamity. And he has no policy to deal with the police violence, demonstrations and the rest of the upheaval that has gripped the nation for the past week.”
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that Russia will not be included in the Group of 7 nations, disagreeing with President Trump, who said he plans to invite Russia,” the AP reports.
Politico: “Any push by Donald Trump to readmit Russia to the G7 gathering of economically advanced nations would be vetoed by the U.K.”
“The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus,” The Atlanticreports.
“The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas). It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, such as police vans and jails.”
New York Times: “Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people out of their homes and onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases.”
George Will: “The nation’s downward spiral into acrimony and sporadic anarchy has had many causes much larger than the small man who is the great exacerbator of them. Most of the causes predate his presidency, and most will survive its January terminus. The measures necessary for restoration of national equilibrium are many and will be protracted far beyond his removal. One such measure must be the removal of those in Congress who, unlike the sycophantic mediocrities who cosset him in the White House, will not disappear ‘magically,’ as Eric Trump said the coronavirus would. Voters must dispatch his congressional enablers, especially the senators who still gambol around his ankles with a canine hunger for petting.”
“In life’s unforgiving arithmetic, we are the sum of our choices. Congressional Republicans have made theirs for more than 1,200 days. We cannot know all the measures necessary to restore the nation’s domestic health and international standing, but we know the first step: Senate Republicans must be routed, as condign punishment for their Vichyite collaboration.”
“At least 26,000 residents died and more than 60,000 were sickened as the novel coronavirus continued its unrelenting assault on America’s nursing homes, sweeping through facilities in every corner of the country,” the Washington Post reports.
“The tally, however, is incomplete. About 20 percent of the nation’s nursing homes did not report data to the federal government.”