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Gaseous Debate

Various media outlets reported that security fired teargas and shot rubber bullets to clear a path for a Trump photo op at St' John's Church.

The Federalist made a big issues out the the alleged "lies" claiming it was not teargas but rather smoke canisters. 

Supposedly the Federalist represents actual journalists.

Senior National Security Correspondent Alexander Marquardt had this to say.

I believe Marquardt but the key point is that it is irrelevant whether the clearing mechanism was smoke canisters or teargas. 

That counterattack is used to hide what is really importtant.

Three Pertinent Facts

  1. Trump staged ridiculous photo op that brutally backfired
  2. The protest was peaceful until Trump wrecked it
  3. Trump crossed a dangerous line

538 Gets the Significance 

Two things distinguish Trump’s action from those mayors’. First, the people in D.C. were not in violation of the city’s 7 p.m. curfew — the tear gas was used about 20 minutes before the curfew went into effect, and it seems to have been used for no other purpose than to clear the protesters out of Trump’s walking path.

Second, the president of the U.S. allowing the use of tear gas on civilians protesting peacefully is simply a bigger deal than a mayor or governor doing it. The fact that Trump has used tear gas on protesters could lead to its use by more officials, too.

This is another instance, though, where norms and democratic values have not always aligned. While the First Amendment protects the right of people to freely assemble and petition the government for the redress of grievances, government interference with this right is not uncommon. But the escalation we saw from the White House on Monday is.

It’s not just that the president’s actions violated the right of people to protest, either. How he did this — by using law enforcement officials — matters too. By encouraging the police and military to take on the protesters across the country, Trump has crossed a crucial and dangerous line.

Today or Yesterday?

Trump cannot tell the difference between today or yesterday or a peaceful protest and a fire.

Seeking Calm

I asked for a calm speech from the president and got this response.

Somehow I missed the part where criminals invaded the White House and beat up Melania Trump.

Ridiculous Straw Man

The Day Trump Lost The Presidency

That bastion of liberal new media known as the American Conservative writes The Day Trump Lost The Presidency.

I  believe that yesterday was the day that Donald Trump lost the presidency. After days of urban rioting, the likes of which America hasn’t seen in over fifty years, the President of the United States finally deigned to show himself and address the nation. He gave a pro forma address in the White House, then, law enforcement personnel having gassed peaceful protesters to clear the way for the president to walk across the park to St. John’s Church, Trump strolled over, stood in front of the church holding a Bible, for a photo op. A conservative white Evangelical pastor friend texted me his disgust:

This is the act of a weak man who is left with nothing but to stand in front of a church flashing a Bible like a gang sign to get conservative Christians in line. It is pathetic. Today I see that he is going to visit a DC shrine to St. John Paul II — a purely political stunt. As a believing Christian, Trump’s cynicism disgusts me viscerally.

Senator Ben Sasse Blasts Trump

"There is a fundamental - a Constitutional - right to protest, and I am against clearing out a peaceful protest for that treats the Word of God as a political prop."

Sasse is a Republican senator from Nebraska. 

Something Changed


Matt Lewis pickled up on it. Lewis is a Senior Columnist for the Daily Beast.

Something changed last night. I am hearing from conservative friends and relatives in states like WV, VA, and SC who are finally done with Trump. One is writing in "Romney-Mattis." Another one is voting Biden. He just told me, "I want him [Trump] crushed."

The American Conservative picked up on it as well. So did Senator Sasse. There is more.

Senator Tim Scott Lectures Trump

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the nation's most prominent black GOP official, tells Politico "If your question is, Should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo opp, the answer is no."

Ghost of Spiro Agnew

Senators Duck Questions Part 1

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Senators Mostly Duck Questions Part 1

Senators Duck Questions Part 2

Senators Duck Questions Part 2

Senators Duck Questions Part 3

Senators Duck Questions Part 3

Trump Could Find Little Support From Senate Republicans

Even they have finally had enough. 

Senator Tim Kaine

Former Top Military Officials Chime in

Please Note that Trump's Actions Shocked Generals

Former top military officials also took issue with Trump’s use of U.S. soldiers to counter demonstrators.

“It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel — including members of the National Guard — forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church,” retired Gen. Mike Mullen, a former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in an extraordinary op-ed in the Atlantic. “I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.

Another former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, was similarly bothered by Trump’s actions.

Retired Gen. Tony Thomas, former head of Special Operations Command, said Trump’s promise to flood the streets of America’s cities with U.S. soldiers is “not what America needs to hear.”

General Dempsey

"America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy. #BeBetter"

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

"This evening, the President of the United States stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, lifted up a bible, and had pictures of himself taken. In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes."

Representative Jason Crow

James N. Miller Resigns

James N. Miller, Defense Science Board Member and former under secretary of defense for policy from 2012 to 2014 resigned today. 

Here is a portion of his Letter to Defense Secretary Esper.

Dear Secretary Esper,

I resign from the Defense Science Board, effective immediately.

When I joined the Board in early 2014, after leaving government service as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, I again swore an oath of office, one familiar to you, that includes the commitment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States . . . and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

You recited that same oath on July 23, 2019, when you were sworn in as Secretary of Defense. On Monday, June 1, 2020, I believe that you violated that oath. Law-abiding protesters just outside the White House were dispersed using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op. You then accompanied President Trump in walking from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for that photo.

I must now ask: If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?

As a concerned citizen, and as a former senior defense official who cares deeply about the military, I urge you to consider closely both your future actions and your future words. For example, some could interpret literally your suggestion to the nation’s governors Monday that they need to “dominate the battlespace.” I cannot believe that you see the United States as a “battlespace,” or that you believe our citizens must be “dominated.” Such language sends an extremely dangerous signal.

You have made life-and-death decisions in combat overseas; soon you may be asked to make life-and-death decisions about using the military on American streets and against Americans. Where will you draw the line, and when will you draw it?


James N. Miller 

I Cannot Remain Silent

Military Police Clear a Path for Trump Photo Op

Mike Mullen , Seventeenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says I Cannot Remain Silent.

It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump's leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.

I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.

Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.

Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.

Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized.

This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.

Not the Time for Stunts

The resignation, the Tweets from generals and a bishop, and the refusal of Republican Senators to support Trump, all say the same thing.

Something changed, and changed for the better: Even Republican Senators are sick of Trump.

Most of those Senators are cowards as evidenced by "late for lunch, no comment, did not see the news clip lies." 

But they will no longer defend him. 

Trump's Bubble Just Shattered

This is not the time for stunts, but stunts are all Trump has. His time is up.


Trump is holding the bible correctly although it appears to be upside down.  Initially I questioned if that was the case.