Republicans Dodge Questions On Trump's Violent Removal Of Peaceful Protest
MSNBC's Kasie Hunt tried to get multiple Republicans to respond to the Trump White House having a peaceful protest violently removed so the president could have a photo op with a Bible. Aired on 6/2/2020.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany stressed the importance of "peaceful protesters" as nationwide demonstrations continue over the death of George Floyd. The White House also urged governors to deploy the National Guard as needed. CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out a number of Republican senators who dodged questions or were silent when pressed for reaction after President Donald Trump suggested without evidence that a 75-year-old man who was seriously injured after being shoved by police officers in Buffalo, New York, last week, may have been part of a "set up."
In an unsubstantiated claim, the President tweeted, "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?"
At a news conference following a Republican policy lunch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky refused to say whether Trump's tweet was appropriate.
CNN pressed him twice, and he instead pointed to the work led by GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina to try to put together a police reform package.
#Trump NBC News' Gadi Schwartz details the announcement that Los Angeles County will lift its curfew after days of peaceful demonstrations against George Floyd's death. More than a dozen Senate Republicans on June 2 refused to say whether the gassing of peaceful protesters outside the White House was appropriate before President Trump's church visit.
SENIOR REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE THAT WE WILL ALL RECOGNIZE. >> SENATOR McCONNELL, WAS WHAT THE PRESIDENT DID LAST NIGHT THE RIGHT THING TO DO? >> I WASN’T THERE SO I DIDN’T SEE EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. >> YOU THINK HE CAN DO BETTER? >> WE ALL CAN -- EVERY DAY WE ALL CAN DO BETTER. I TRY. >> WHAT THE PRESIDENT DID, THE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS THAT WERE DISPERSED WITH TEAR GAS, HE THEN WALKED ACROSS THE STREET TO THE CHURCH. WAS THAT THE RIGHT THING TO DO? >> I DIDN’T REALLY SEE IT. >> WAS CLEARING THE PROTESTERS AN ABUSE OF POWER? YOU DON’T HAVE ANY COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED AT THE WHITE HOUSE LAST NIGHT? >> THE WHAT? >> THE GASSING OF -- >> I WANT WATCH THAT ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. >> I DID NOT THINK THAT WHAT WE SAW LAST NIGHT WAS THE AMERICAN WAY. >> SO, ALEXI, JUST A LITTLE LIST HERE. KENTUCKY, WISCONSIN, KANSAS, FLORIDA, UTAH, ALASKA, THE VOTERS ALL THERE. IT’S THEIR BUSINESS BECAUSE THEY SENT ALL THOSE SENATORS TO WASHINGTON. IS THAT ANSWER AND/OR THE LACK OF AN ANSWER ENTIRELY GOING TO BE COOL WITH THE ELECTORATE GOING FORWARD? >> WE HEARD THE REFRAIN TIME AND AGAIN IN THIS MOMENT THAT, YOU KNOW, IF YOU’RE SILENT, YOU’RE ON THE SIDE OF THE OPPRESSOR. THAT DIDN’T JUST APPLY TO WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH GEORGE FLOYD. THAT APPLIES TO WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS DOING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHAT HE IS SAYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND HOW THE FOLK WHO’S ARE WORKING UNDER HIM ARE TREATING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO ARE EXERCISING THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. IT’S NOT JUST THE SILENCE FROM REPUBLICAN ALLIES AND SENATORS ON THE HILL WHEN IT COMES TO THIS, BRIAN. IT’S THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING FROM THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN, WHO ARE ASKING JOURNALISTS TO RETRACT AND CORRECT THEIR STORIES THAT PUT THE FACTUAL INFORMATION OUT THERE THAT PROTESTERS, AS YOU MENTIONED, YOUR COLLEAGUES, GARRETT HAAKE, YAMICHE ALCINDOR AT PBS AND OTHERS WERE TEARGASSED THEMSELVES YESTERDAY WHILE COVERING THIS. BUT THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN IS GOING SO FAR AS TO LITERALLY TRY TO GASLIGHT US INTO SAYING THAT WE SHOULD RETRACT AND CORRECT THESE STORIES BECAUSE IT SIMPLY WAS NOT TRUE. THAT PLUS REPUBLICAN SENATORS BEING SILENT ON THIS ENTIRE ISSUE IS SOMETHING THAT VOTERS ARE WATCHING UNFOLD IN REAL TIME, AND IT’S SOMETHING THAT IS NOT SITTING WELL WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. POLLS SHOW TIME AND AGAIN THAT A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS THINK THAT NOT JUST THE ANGER BEHIND THE PROTESTS BUT THE MANIFESTATION OF THE PROTESTS ARE JUSTIFIED