Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution from Democrats that would have condemned President Trump after rubber bullets, tear gas and flash bang grenades was used on peaceful protesters near the White House.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to pass the resolution by unanimous consent, meaning any one senator could block it.
“If a senator objects they should be asked if they believe Americans do not have the constitutional right to exercise the freedom of speech. …Do they support the president’s use of tear gas against people, including families, who are peacefully protesting in a public park?” Schumer asked.
The resolution condemns Trump for “ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the night of June 1, 2020, thereby violating the constitutional rights of those peaceful protestors.”
The National Guard, U.S. Park Police and Secret Service used rubber bullets and tear gas to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square so that Trump could cross the street to St. John’s Church to take a photo with a bible.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday called for an investigation into a police attack on an Australian news crew outside of the White House during the crackdown Monday.
The Washington Post reported that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered for the perimeter near the White House to be extended, pushing protesters away from Lafayette Park.
The Democratic resolution would also throw congressional support behind the right of Americans to protest peacefully and the belief that “violence and looting are unlawful, unacceptable and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.”
But McConnell objected, arguing that the Democratic resolution did not address racial injustice or ending riots.
“It pays more attention to the precise ways that federal law enforcement affects presidential movement around the White House, instead of cities that have been consumed by rioting, looting and violence against police for several nights in a row,” he said.
“There’s no universe where Americans think Democrats obsession with condemning President Trump is [a] more urgent priority than ending the riots or advancing racial justice,” McConnell said.