“The fake demonstrators near Lafayette were not peaceful and are not real,” said Dowd’s letter, without citing any evidence. “They are terrorists who use hateful students to burn and destroy. They were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for a 1900 curfew.”
CNN contacted the White House for comment on the description of the demonstrators as “terrorists”.
He remained in the barred building, brandishing a Bible for the cameras, only for a few minutes before returning to the White House.
The letter drew condemnation from the Modern Military Association of America, a nonprofit organization for the LGBTQ military and veteran community.
“Donald Trump has just crossed a very serious line that requires a swift and energetic condemnation by every member of Congress,” said the group’s interim executive director, Air Force veteran Jennifer Dane. “Promoting a letter identifying American citizens who peacefully exercise their first amendment rights as” terrorists “is a serious violation of his oath to preserve, protect and defend the United States Constitution. Now more than ever, it is absolutely crucial that Trump is held responsible for his reckless actions. ”
The episode followed nearly a week of protests across the country that sometimes turned violent over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
In response to the President’s approach, Mattis made a statement Wednesday warning that the United States “must reject any thought of our cities as a” battleground “that our uniformed military are called upon to” dominate “.”
“At home, we should only use our military when we are asked, on rare occasions, by state governors. The militarization of our response, as we have seen in Washington, DC, creates a conflict – a false conflict – between the military and society civilian, “wrote Mattis.
The president repeatedly defended his response to the protests and even tweeted Thursday evening that he had no problems with the National Guard helicopter that was seen flying low over protesters in Washington Monday night.
The District of Columbia National Guard is investigating the matter and an investigation has also been requested by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“The problem is not the very talented and low-flying helicopter pilots who want to save our city, the problem is the arsonists, looters, criminals and anarchists, who want to destroy it (and our country)!” Trump tweeted.
The helicopter had a “mission declared” in part to “dissuade” criminal activity including riots and looting by maintaining a presence in the head, according to a defense official who has direct knowledge of the orders given to the crew. The official declined to be identified because the Washington National Guard is now examining whether the flights were conducted properly.
The Lakota UH-72 was also expected to discourage an “illegal assembly” if necessary to provide medical evacuation from the crowd and provide surveillance to command and control force protection, the official said.
The investigation, the official said, is focusing on how those orders led to low-level flights, which caused civilian debris and intimidates to fly, the official said.