President Donald Trump has issued a blustering warning to use ‘vicious dogs’ and ‘ominous weapons’ against demonstrators after a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd attempted to storm the White House grounds on Friday night.
‘The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble,’ Trump tweeted Saturday morning from the White House.
‘Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool,’ Trump wrote.
‘I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the “protesters” scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them,’ he continued.
‘The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen,’ Trump wrote.
A protester holds his hands up as police officers enter Lafayette Park during a demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of black man George Floyd
The Secret Service form a line outside the White House as agitators attempt to breach their barricade during a protest over the death of George Floyd
‘That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action,’ he said.
Trump continued, presumably in the voice of a Secret Service supervisor: ‘“We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and good practice.” As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you!’
‘On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. “Not their job.” Nice!’ he concluded.
Overnight, police and Secret Service agents were out in force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators gathered across the street in Lafayette Square chanting, ‘I can’t breathe.’
As demonstrations erupted in 30 cities across the country, often spilling into violence, the angry crowd at the White House grappled with Secret Service agents and attempted to breach their line of barricades surrounding the executive residence.
Demonstrators outside the White House grapple with Secret Service agents as they try to tear down barricades surrounding the executive residence
Protesters wield a barricade after grappling with Secret Service agents at the White House
A demonstrator confronts a Secret Service agent in riot gear maintaining security outside of the White House overnight on Friday
The crowd of hundreds chanted ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘Say his name: George Floyd.’
Floyd, 46, died on Monday in Minneapolis after bystander video captured a white police officer pressing a knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck for at least seven minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired from the force and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
As some in the crowd at the White House grew more aggressive, police deployed pepper spray to keep them back and maintain a perimeter.
Fellow demonstrators came to the aid of protesters who were sprayed, their eyes red and puffy, offering bottles of milk and water to splash on their faces.
Demonstrators stole at least 15 barricades as they clashed with Secret Service agents
Secret Service agents with riot shields filled the gaps in the barricades to repel protesters
By the end of the night, the protesters had stolen about 15 barricades and left police to form a line of officers holding riot shields to keep back the swelling crowd.
At one point, the protesters were able to gain control of an officer´s shield and set it ablaze before trying to toss it back at the line of officers. Police used a smoke device to quickly stop them.
The protest went on for hours before police declared the gathering “unlawful” and ordered everyone to leave Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park located directly north of the White House.
Dozens of officers pushed forward with their shields and fired off streams of pepper spray at protesters.