This isn’t really news, but Donald Trump continues to lie about just about everything.
First, Trump’s former defense secretary Jim Mattis wrote an article highly critical of Trump, so of course our Tweeter-in-chief attacked back, claiming that he had fired Mattis (and disparaging him). But John Kelly, who was Trump’s White House chief of staff at the time says that Mattis resigned and that Trump “has clearly forgotten” what actually happened. But that didn’t deter Trump, who just repeated his false claim that he fired Mattis and then proceeded to attack Kelly.
Who are you going to believe? Trump, or two widely respected four star Marine generals, who were handpicked by Trump and praised by him until they each wrote something he didn’t like?
Next, facing fallout over his disgusting Bible-brandishing photo-op that involved unconstitutionally attacking peaceful protesters, Trump decided that the best defense was to demand retractions from news organizations that claimed that police used tear gas to clear the area. The White House instead pointed out that they used pepper balls, smoke canisters, and flash-bang grenades instead.
This is just total bullshit:
- According to the CDC, the term “tear gas” is used to describe any riot-control agent that causes people to cry through irritation of the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, or skin. They explicitly classify pepper compounds as one form of tear gas. So this is like the White House saying “I didn’t hit her with a blunt instrument, I used a club.” The deleterious effects are the same, and in this case were experienced and reported by news media during the event.
- Local news organizations also found actual used tear gas canisters on the ground, and witnessed federal law enforcement launching them at protesters during the event. So the White House is lying.
- And finally, it doesn’t matter whether tear gas was used. The government violently violated the First Amendment right of Americans to peaceably assemble to protest. Even if they only did it by firing pepper balls, smoke canisters, and flash-bang grenades, which they admitted. For a freakin’ photo-op.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the US Park Police admits that it was a “mistake” to insist on Tuesday that it didn’t use tear gas to disperse protesters in Lafayette Square for Trump’s photo op. No comment on why they felt that it was ok to use violence on peaceful protesters.