Washington, June 2 (IANS) While speaking from the Rose Garden US President Donald Trump said, what happened last night in Washington DC was a “disgrace” and warned that the curfew tonight will “strictly enforced”.
He said, “My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is what I will do.”
Any rulebreakers will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, he added.
Organisers of the “terror” will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail, he said, mentioning Antifa.
“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property.”
Trump said he will mobilise all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and wanton destruction of property and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans.
He said, “We are ending the riots and lawlessness that have spread throughout the country.”
“All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd,” says Trump, promising “he will not have died in vain”.
But Trump says that Floyd’s memory must not be “drowned out by an angry mob”.
“I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protests,” he continues.
“But in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa and others.”
“A number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action to safeguard their residents,” he adds.
Earlier on Monday, Trump told governors during a phone call that they were “weak” and were being laughed at by the world because of their response to protests.
“Healing not hatred. Justice not chaos. This is our mission and we will succeed 100 percent. We will succeed. Our country always wins,” Trump continues.
“If malice or violence reigns then none of us are free,” he says, adding that America’s “best days lie ahead”.
“These are not acts of peaceful protest,” says Trump. “These are acts of domestic terror.”
“The destruction of innocent life and the spilling of innocent blood is an offence to humanity and a crime against God.”
With Washington DC’s curfew officially in place, Trump crossed Lafayette Square park outside the White House on foot to visit the nearby St John’s Church.
He ended his statement to the nation saying: “Now I’m going to pay my respects to a very, very special place.”
Before Trump spoke, armed officers in riot gear pushed protesters out of the park and several blocks away.
TV camera showed Trump walking through the park, wearing no mask to guard against the coronavirus.
St John’s Episcopal Church has been attended by every US president since James Madison in 1816.
Its parish hall suffered a suspected arson attack on Sunday night, but the basement fire was quickly extinguished with only minor damage.
Standing outside the church, Trump held up a Bible, flanked by aides, and said: “We have the greatest country in the world. I’m going to keep it nice and safe.”
As he spoke, he was flanked by White House aides who were not wearing masks or social distancing.