On Tuesday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution that would have condemned President Donald Trump after rubber bullets and tear gas were used on protesters near the White House to clear a path for the president’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The resolution would have condemned Trump for “ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the night of June 1, 2020, thereby violating the constitutional rights of those peaceful protesters.”
On June 1, the National Guard, Secret Service and US Park police used rubber bullets and tear gas on peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette square on the orders of US Attorney General William Barr so that Trump could visit the St. John’s Episcopal Church that had been set on fire by the protesters the night before.
The resolution, which was introduced early Tuesday by Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, needed unanimous consent to pass.
Schumer emphasized that the resolution would give congressional support to the First Amendment rights of Americans.
“If a senator objects, they should be asked if they believe Americans do not have the constitutional right to exercise the freedom of speech … Do they support the president’s use of tear gas against people, including families, who are peacefully protesting in a public park?” Schumer said.
However, McConnell objected arguing that the resolution had neglected to address racial injustice and the need to end the riots across the country in the wake of the George Floyd’s death.
“It pays more attention to the precise ways that federal law enforcement affects presidential movement around the White House instead of cities that have been consumed by rioting, looting and violence against police for several nights in a row,” said Connell.
He further added, “There’s no universe where Americans think Democrats’ obsession with condemning President Trump is [a] more urgent priority than ending the riots or advancing racial justice.”
McConnell subsequently offered his resolution which seeks to immediately restore order “to the cities of the United States so that citizens may have peace and the legitimate grievances of peaceful protesters may be heard and considered.”
This resolution was blocked by Schumer who deemed it “insufficient” since he claimed it failed to address Trump’s actions against the protesters on the night of June 1.
“It’s very simple why the Republican leader objected to our resolution and offered his one instead. It’s because they do not want to condemn what the president did, though every fair-minded American of any political party would,” he said.
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