An Inspector General’s report released Wednesday found that when law enforcement cleared Lafayette Park in front of the White House last June, it was not for a photo-op like many people believed.
One week after the death of George Floyd and following days of unrest between Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and law enforcement, DonaldTrump made headlines for walking through a recently cleared area in front of the White House to pose for a picture in front of St. John’s Church while holding a Bible.
Groups like BLM and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) later sued Trump and his Attorney General Bill Barr for forcefully removing protestors from the square.
Interior Department Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt, says U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service concluded it was necessary to remove protestors from the park on June 1 in order to install anti-scale fencing.
“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,” the report said.
Law enforcement cleared the park by 6:50 p.m. and at 7:01 p.m. Trump walked from the White House through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church.
The contractors began erecting the anti-scale fence by 7:30 and completed the project just after midnight.
Trump released a statement reflecting his vindication Wednesday.
“Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for completely and totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park,” Trump said.