WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, President Trump ordered the tear gassing of peaceful protestors who were exercising their First Amendment rights so he could walk across a park in Washington, DC to conduct a photo-op outside a boarded up Episcopal church where President Lincoln often went to find solace and guidance during the Civil War.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:

“When President Trump ordered peaceful protesters to be tear gassed for a photo-op, he broke faith with public trust and American values.

“As the family of George Floyd has stressed: violence is not the way to bring about justice.  Racism and inequality are real and deep-rooted and we must continually work to overcome them.

“President Trump’s repeated threats to ‘dominate,’ and unleash the ‘unlimited power of our military’ against American citizens are irresponsible and destabilizing. 

“President Trump’s words and actions run counter to our democratic values and undermine the work of responsible community leaders and law enforcement officials who are trying to uphold everyone’s rights and protect public safety.  The job of bringing calm will take law enforcement and the community working together.  It will not come from recklessly invoking the Insurrection Act.

“The looting and destructive vandalism that took place in Providence last night was unacceptable and those responsible for criminal acts must be held accountable.  The selfish few who have no interest in progress and change want to tear communities apart.  But it is heartening to see citizens already coming together to help pick up debris, repair damage, and clean up the mess others have made.  This is a time for all of us to lead by example, pick each other up, and rise above violence and hate.

“The challenges before us can’t be solved by unleashing ‘the unlimited power of our military’ on our fellow Americans.  They can only be solved by unleashing the unlimited power of our citizens striving and living up to the principles and the promise of America.”