FLASHBACK: Top Dems Pushed A Debunked Narrative That Trump Tear Gassed Protesters, Cleared Park For Photo Op

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in 2020 that former President Donald Trump ordered a park cleared so that he could take photographs at a Washington, D.C., church, a claim that has since been debunked.

The two highest-ranking congressional Democrats claimed in a June 1, 2020 joint statement that Trump “dishonor[ed] every value that faith teaches us” by “tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that [he] could pose for photos outside a church.” A Department of the Interior Inspector General report released on Wednesday found that United States Park Police (USPP) had already been ordered to clear Lafayette Park to build new anti-riot fencing before Trump decided to visit St. John’s Church.

Other House Democrats, including California Rep. Adam Schiff, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, then-presidential nominee Joe Biden, and New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler repeated the claims.

“The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the President to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church. Instead, the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow the contractor to safely install the anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of property and injury to officers occurring on May 30 and 31. Further, the evidence showed that the USPP did not know about the President’s potential movement until mid- to late afternoon on June 1—hours after it had begun developing its operational plan and the fencing contractor had arrived in the park,” the Inspector General, Mark Lee Greenblatt, wrote.

Protesters and rioters occupied Lafayette Square on May 30 and 31 following the death of George Floyd. At night, rioters set fire to St. John’s Episcopal Church. (RELATED: Protesters And Black Lives Matter Suing Trump Over Eviction From Lafayette Park)

Despite the claims from Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, Pressley, and Nadler, the Inspector General report clears Park Police of the allegation that they used tear gas on protesters and rioters, according to Politico.

Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, Pressley, and Nadler did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Following a report from the New York Times that Russia paid Taliban soldiers bounties for dead American soldiers, Pelosi claimed that Trump’s “refusal to stand up to the Russians… jeopardizes lives in the region, as the Afghan government and the United States are engaged in critical peace negotiations with the Taliban.”