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CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on the description of the protesters as "terrorists."
It is reported that the President's decision to share the letter and its shocking description of Americans exercising their constitutional rights come as he continues to lean into his strongman approach to the ongoing demonstrations. On Monday, he declared himself "your President of law and order" as the peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with gas, flashbangs, and rubber bullets, apparently so he could visit a nearby church.
|Demonstrators hold up placards protest outside of the White House, over the death of George Floyd in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2020. (Jose LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)|
He remained at the boarded-up building, brandishing a Bible for the cameras, for only a matter of 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 just crossed a very serious line that demands swift and forceful condemnation by every Member of Congress," said the group's interim executive director, Air Force veteran Jennifer Dane. "Promoting a letter that labels American citizens peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights as 'terrorists' is an egregious breach of his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Now more than ever, it is absolutely crucial that Trump be held accountable for his reckless actions."
In response to the President's approach, Mattis released a statement Wednesday cautioning that the US "must reject any thinking of our cities as a 'battlespace' that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate.' "
"At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society," Mattis wrote.
According to Politico, Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is among the organizations representing the plaintiffs, decried Dowd’s letter as “abhorrent and completely false characterization of the peacefully assembled demonstrators who were dispersed through state-sanctioned violence at the hands of government officials.”
“It is remarkable,” Clarke said in a statement to POLITICO on Thursday night, “that President Trump objects so vehemently to those speaking out against racial and police violence while embracing gun-toting activists who take siege of government buildings and violent white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.”
According to KTLA 5 News, Bishop Mariann E. Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said that she had not been told Mr. Trump would be making the trek.
“He did not pray,” she said. “We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces.”
|Photo: The Guardian|
The President has repeatedly defended his response to the protests and even tweeted later Thursday evening that he didn't have a problem with the National Guard helicopter that was seen flying low over protesters in Washington on Monday night.
According to an article posted in Fred Keller, “They’re indiscriminate, their violent destruction deprives lawful citizens of their right to really get the issues addressed,” said Pennsylvania Cong. In previous dealings with groups where domestic terrorism investigations have been undertaken, the F.B.I. has treated them as criminal enterprises.
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