KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump promised to protect "peaceful protesters" from violent mobs
  • Looting has overrun the "righteous protests" calling for justice after the death of George Floyd
  • U.S. military will be deployed if states or cities could not protect its citizens from violent mobs

President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to mobilize federal resources to keep safe “peaceful protesters ... drowned out by an angry mob.”

In an address delivered in the Rose Garden on Monday, Trump acknowledged the rightful protests that spread across the country after the death of George Floyd while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers. However, he condemned the “professional anarchists,” anti-fascists and other groups for turning the protests into occasions of violence.

“We must never give in to anger or hatred,” Trump said. “If malice or violence reigns, then none of us is free.”

The president also promised that justice will be served in the death of George Floyd, saying “he will not have died in vain.”

Trump, accompanied by his aides and officials, then walked to St. Johns Episcopal Church and held up a Bible for a photo. The parish house had been burned by rioters on Sunday night.

Right Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, however, said that she was not informed of the president’s intent to visit the church.

“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence,” she told The Washington Post.

Trump had earlier tweeted "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," a phrase that came from a police officer in Florida responding to an outbreak of violence in Miami in 1967. The tweet was met with backlash, with several activists accusing Trump of glorifying violence. He, however, defended that it was what was happening. The looting that came with the protests resulted to shooting and the death of several more people.

Trump, in his Monday statement, had reiterated that he will send the military force into states and cities that are not able to “defend the life and property of their residents.”

The death of George Floyd is the most recent death of an African-American man at the hands of a White police officer. This had sparked anti-racism protests across the nation, and even outside the U.S.

US President Donald Trump holds up a bible in front of St John's Episcopal church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020 President Donald Trump holds up a bible in front of St John's Episcopal church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2020. Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski