Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitted to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday that authorities might not have used tear gas, after all, as the media and former Vice President Joe Biden had claimed earlier in the week.
“Maybe they didn’t have tear gas, I don’t know,” Pelosi said, describing the clearing of Lafayette Park on Monday.
On Monday afternoon, law enforcement cleared protesters — some of whom were violent — from the park, in front of the White House, shortly before President Donald Trump walked through the park to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
As Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist documented, the mainstream media ran with the story that Trump had used tear gas to clear the park for a “photo-op” in front of the church.
Biden made the same claim in a speech on Tuesday:
When peaceful protestors dispersed in order for a president, a president from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House, using tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo-op at one of the most historic churches in the country or at least in Washington, DC, we can be forgiven for believing the president is more interested in power than in principle.
However, the “tear gas” claim was untrue.
The U.S. Park Police issued a statement Tuesday denying that it had used tear gas in clearing the park:
At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park.
Pelosi told MSNBC:
My daughter, Alexandra — filmmaker, journalist — was there that night, and she called me, and she said, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe it, these people were demonstrating peacefully, and all of a sudden this barrage of security came through, using clubs to beat people, and these explosive little bullets that explode into stuff that burns your eyes.” Maybe they didn’t have tear gas, I don’t know, but they had the elements of it. For peaceful demonstrators to make way, make way, for the president to walk through. What is this, a banana republic?
Protests erupted nationwide last week over the death of George Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, the protests soon descended into arson, looting, and deadly violence in many cities, including the nation’s capital. St. John’s church was burned during riots on Sunday evening.
Washington, DC, was significantly quieter Monday and Tuesday evening, as the military restored order.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.