Media, Democrats Compare Trump Church Visit to Tiananmen Square Massacre

Democrats Compare Trump's Walk to Church to Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989
AP Photos/Patrick Semansky, Jeff Widener

As the world marks the 31st anniversary of China’s massacre of thousands of students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Democrats – including leadership in the House and Senate – and the left-wing media are comparing that deadly day to President Donald Trump’s visit on Monday to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Trump visited the Christian site after rioters torched it last weekend, part of the nationwide response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The comparison of Trump’s church visit is, on its face, untenable. Despite media reports, Lafayette Square was cleared out just minutes ahead of a 7:00 p.m. curfew and the U.S. Park Police — not the U.S. military — did not use tear gas or rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Although 51 police officers were injured, no arrests were made.

The comparison is being made nonetheless by prominent Democrats such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

The Hill reported what Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the U.S. is losing its “moral authority” to denounce crimes abroad while images are seen of a violent police response against peaceful protesters at home.

“While we pause to remember the innocent lives lost and demand that the Chinese government reckon with its state-sanctioned violence, we must acknowledge that America’s moral authority to denounce these crimes relies upon our setting an example here at home,” Schiff wrote.

“But when our police attack peaceful protestors fighting for a more just society with tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bang grenades, we not only violate American values, but we also [lose] our credibility when advocating for human rights and democratic freedoms abroad,” Schiff wrote.

The Washington Examiner reported that Senate Minority Leader Schumer also compared Trump to Chinese soldiers opening fire on peaceful crowds of anti-communist protesters for putting the National Guard in place to protect the Lincoln Memorial after protesters vandalized it:

“Rows of camouflaged troops standing at attention on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, like an occupying force defending a critical position,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. “When you see the image of troops dressed for combat, flanking the Lincoln Memorial, an altar to freedom, you cannot help but think of Tiananmen Square.”

The media is also jumping on the comparison bandwagon, including the Washington Post, which headlined its “analysis,” “From Tiananmen Square to Lafayette Square” and included the false narrative of a “gas” attack on a “peaceful crowd of protesters”:

After some demonstrations in Washington turned violent over the weekend, Trump moved to “put it down with strength.” Police and military officers on Monday used riot shields, batons and gas to clear a peaceful crowd of protesters in front of the White House just minutes before Trump was due to speak in the Rose Garden.

Only briefly mentioning Floyd, Trump threatened to deploy the military to American cities and warned that violent protesters would be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He left the podium and walked to the fire-damaged St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he held up a Bible.

The Post also promoted Chinese propaganda in its report.

“Among Beijing’s ‘wolf warrior’ diplomats and their allies, the crackdown was further evidence of U.S. hypocrisy,” the Post reported, citing Zhao Lijian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry propagandist best known for suggesting the Chinese coronavirus pandemic was caused by the U.S. Army.

“This week has proven an obvious surrender of soft power for the United States,” the Post concluded. “China has tried for decades to make the world stop talking about Tiananmen Square: This year Trump may have done more to help than Beijing’s censors ever could.”

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.

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