Laura Ingraham Claims Tear Gas Wasn’t Used on Protestors, Gets Fact Checked By Reporters Who Were There

Media Most Influential List honoree Laura Ingraham at CPAC 2019

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Laura Ingraham claimed no tear gas was used on protestors outside the White House Monday night, after demonstrations were forcefully broken up to allow President Donald Trump to visit a Washington D.C. church.

Ingraham responded with outrage to the following statement from former Obama adviser David Axelrod: “Tear gas & rubber bullets, horses & batons to break up a peaceful crowd across from the WH apparently to clear them out all so the @POTUS could stage a photo op, holding up a bible. at St. John’s Episcopal Church.”

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“False,” Ingraham replied, asking why Twitter had not fact checked the post.

“No tear gas,” she claimed. “Horses are used for safe crowd control. Mayor set 7p curfew. No coordination with Park Police. FALSE.”

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According to footage of the scene and reports from the ground, heavily armed police and National Guard units flooded into Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. on Monday to crack down on a peaceful protest. It was around 6:30 p.m.: moments before Trump delivered a speech from the Rose Garden and 30 minutes before the 7 p.m. curfew.

Police used gas and flash grenades to clear the crowd of peaceful protestors. Live footage caught a police officer brutally beating an Australian journalist.

When Trump finished his Rose Garden speech, he walked through the now-empty Lafayette Square, under Secret Service protection, to pose in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church with a Bible. The church had been set on fire by rioters the night before.

Ingraham’s claim that no tear gas was used is likely based on several tweets from a WTOP reporter, who cited an anonymous source from U.S. Park Police claiming only smoke canisters were deployed on the crowd. The source also claimed police did not clear the square to for Trump to visit the church.

Those claims are refuted by reporting on the ground.

CNN national security correspondent Alex Marquardt called the notion that no tear gas was used “ridiculous.”

“I was in the middle of a crowd coughing up a lung. All sort of projectiles were being fired at a peaceful crowd,” he wrote.

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Yahoo News White House correspondent Hunter Walker — who was at the protest — also fact checked Ingraham’s claim, linking to a video of the moment police gassed the crowd.

“To describe the sensation to you, my eyes are just filling with tears and absolutely stinging,” Walker reported, as he showed protestors dousing their eyes with water.

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Despite that reporting from the ground, U.S. Park Police issued a statement later Tuesday claiming that they did not use tear gas, but conceding that pepper balls were deployed to disperse the crowd. Tear gas and pepper spray have similar effects.

Rev. Gini Gerbasi, who was at St. John’s Episcopal Church before Trump’s photo op, also said police cleared out clergy and protestors from the scene with chemicals.

“I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us,” she wrote in a post on Facebook.

Schumer Knocks Muted GOP Responses to Trump: Stop Being Afraid of What He ‘Might Tweet About You’

Senator Chuck Schumer swiped at Republican colleagues for not forcefully condemning the treatment of protesters outside the White House Monday night.

Schumer announced a resolution condemning the president over the events in Lafayette Park Monday night. It reads that Congress “condemns the President of the United States for ordering Federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square.”

After protesters were cleared out of the park, the president walked out of the White House and across the park to St. John’s Church for a photo op holding a Bible in front of the church, where rioters started a fire the previous night.

Schumer today said that Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to avoid Trump “fir[ing] off a mean tweet in his direction.”

Some Republicans have criticized the president for last night’s photo op — including Ben Sasse and Lisa Murkowski — but the reaction has mostly been muted.

Schumer brought up the resolution again as he spoke and said, “I know that the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with us.”

“Senate Republicans should stand with us, stand with the American people, stand with the Constitution, stand with unifying us, not dividing us. They should support our resolution. I say to Senate Republicans: stop being afraid of what President Trump might tweet about you and support our resolution,” he concluded.

We will add video when available.

More Americans Disapprove of Trump Than Any President at This Point in Their Term: FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver

No other president has had a higher disapproval rate at this time during their administration than Donald Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver. Trump’s disapproval rate is at 54 percent per FiveThirtyEight projections, the highest it’s been since October 2019.

Silver notes that there has been other presidents with lower approval ratings, but none with this high of a disapproval rating to start June of an election year. Only Jimmy Carter in recent memory comes close to Trump’s disapproval rating at a 52 percent clip at this time in day 1,230 of his presidency.

The majority of polls have Trump down by double digits to former Vice President Joe Biden in November’s presidential election. Some polls have Trump’s net approval as low as 15 percent to Biden, while one survey — the Rasmussen poll, a longtime Trump favorite — did have both at 49 percent at the start of May.

Trump has frequently lashed out on Twitter against polls that have him down, including a Fox News poll that said he was behind eight points. In response, Trump said, “Hope Roger [Ailes] is looking down and watching what has happened to this once beautiful creation!”

More Than 7 in 10 Americans Support Calling in National Guard at Protests: Poll

A strong majority of registered voters support using the National Guard to quell unrest in cities across the country, according to a new Morning Consult survey, while a slight majority support using active-duty military.

Just 18 percent of voters oppose calling in the National Guard to supplement city police forces, while 72 percent support the measure. That included 42 percent who “strongly” supported doing so. Another 58 percent supported calling on the United States military to assist, while just 30 percent opposed it.

Governors in Minnesota and a number of other states — including California, Texas, and Washington — have called on the National Guard to help deal with protests inspired by George Floyd’s death. President Donald Trump on Monday said he would consider deploying military forces “if a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.”

Protests began in Minneapolis on May 26 over Floyd’s death in police custody a day earlier. As of Tuesday evening, protests were expected to continue for the eighth consecutive day in cities including Washington, D.C., where the White House summoned National Guard troops over objections from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The survey suggested Americans nonetheless take a dim view of Trump’s handling of the situation, with 32 percent approving of his performance and 45 percent disapproving. Eleven percent called it “fair” while 12 percent expressed no opinion.

Fox News (And Hannity) Come First in May Ratings, CNN Surges to Most-Watched Month of May Ever

Fox News, lead by prime time star Sean Hannity, were first in the ratings for May 2020. But CNN experienced its most-watched month of May ever this year, while also earning the top spot in the daytime demo.

Hannity took the top spot as the most-watched cable news show in May 2020, averaging 4.23 million overall, while Fox News in general remained at number one of all the networks. Hannity’s 9 p.m. show was closely followed by Tucker Carlson Tonight (4.19 million) — the second most popular show on cable news — and then The FiveThe Ingraham Angle, and Special Report With Bret Baier followed behind.

“Marking 221 consecutive months as the top-rated cable news network in total viewers across total day and primetime, FNC continued to deliver a double-digit percent advantage over both MSNBC and CNN,” Fox News declared in a press release.

CNN too had reason to boast about their numbers, as viewership surged for all networks during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This month was CNN’s most-watched May ever in total day and in prime time among total viewers and among 25-54,” the network announced in a press release. “CNN has now outperformed MSNBC during daytime programming for the 75th consecutive month, the longest streak on record. On weekends, CNN’s programming outperformed MSNBC for 24 out of 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.”

CNN’s most popular show of the month was Cuomo Prime Time, and MSNBC’s most popular show of the month was The Rachel Maddow Show.

And while Fox News had five out of the five top shows in total viewers for the month, Cuomo Prime Time edged out Special Report for the fifth spot in the demo, averaging a whopping 500,000 viewers.

That milestone for Chris Cuomo came as President Donald Trump attacked the CNN host on Tuesday, claiming his ratings had dropped “down 50%.”

Trump could have been referring to Cuomo’s 25-54 demo ratings, which dropped 49 percent in the two months since March 30 — when the host earned massive viewership for his broadcasts while battling coronavirus — though CNN disputed to the president’s tweet.

“Surely you have more important issues than TV ratings to address. But since you’ve made it a priority, we’ll correct the record. @ChrisCuomo has had his highest ratings in history for the past two months,” the network declared.

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On Sunday, the New York Times reported that MSNBC “has been scrambling” for a return to ratings dominance since the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, which the network covered obsessively.

Fox News averaged 1,877,000 total viewers in May, up 40 percent from the same month in 2019, with an average of 326,000 in 25-54 demo. In prime time, Fox News averaged a whopping 3,441,000 viewers (up 44 percent) and 558,000 in the demo.

Overall, CNN averaged 1,091,000 viewers (up a massive 98 percent), with 296,000 in the demo, and 1,652,000 during prime time (up 117 percent), with 464,000 in the demo.

MSNBC averaged 1,155,000 viewers in total (up 27 percent), with 178,000 in the demo, and 1,923,000 during prime time (up 16 percent), with 293,000 in the demo.

Kellyanne Conway Defends Trump Church Photo Op by Claiming it Wasn’t a Photo Op: ‘Because a Photo Was Taken?’

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued that it’s unfair to refer to President Donald Trump’s brief appearance at a church to pose for photographs with a Bible as a photo op “just because a photo was taken.”

Trump has taken blistering criticism since police and National Guard used teargas to clear protesters out of Lafayette Park minutes before Trump led an entourage over to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a brief visit during which photographers had the opportunity to photograph Trump holding a Bible.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Conway argued with reporter about the event during a gaggle on the White House driveway.

CBS News’ Weijia Jiang told Conway that faith leaders “continue to criticize what happened when the president arrived at St John’s,” and asked “How do you describe what happened as being more than a photo op?”

An indignant Conway shot back “I think the words photo op itself, calling into question, you’re looking into someone’s heart and wondering, and second-guessing why they would go over there.”

“Is it a photo op because a photo was taken? While the president of the United States was in front of a church where we went on inauguration day, where every president has gone for more than two centuries?” Conway asked, then added “I think that itself is a mischaracterization. I know it ended up being a Sesame Street Grover word of the day, but that doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it true.”

Conway explained that he chose to visit the church because “he saw those images on Sunday night” and “saw many people very upset”about the fact that the church was set on fire during the unrest.

She concluded by responding to the criticism from faith leaders, saying “I think those criticisms, people have a right to make them but I think they’re unfortunate because they have more than a tinge of calling into question the president’s motivation for going to a church that had been set on fire by anarchists and arsonists less than 24 hours earlier.”

While Conway’s remarks explain the symbolic importance of the church as a setting, the video of Trump’s visit shows several minutes of him adopting a variety of poses with the Bible, then inviting members of his administration to pose as well, and at one point even shushing someone inviting him to deliver some sort of message, before thanking the assembled press and ending the, um, image capture happenstance.

Watch the clip above via C-SPAN.

Why is Instagram Covered in Black Boxes? Blackout Tuesday Explained

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The hashtag #BlackOutTuesday has been the top trend on Twitter all day, while pictures of black images have been flooding Instagram. The grassroots social media campaign is a message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and a protest of police brutality.

The effort, called #TheShowMustBePaused, was started by two music executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, in the wake of George Floyd’s fatal arrest.

“In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black citizens at the hands of police, #TheShowMustBePaused is an initiative created by two Black women in music in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard,” they wrote. “We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives.”

They urged businesses to take a stand by posting a black image on Tuesday, June 2.

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“The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from Black art. Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from efforts, struggles and successes of Black people accountable,” their statement added.

Several artists, celebrities, and social media users have taken part in the movement by posting black pictures to Instagram and other platforms:

 

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we ain’t buying shit!!! and we ain’t selling shit neither!! gang gang! #BLACKOUTTUESDAY AF!!! @fenty @fentybeauty @savagexfenty 💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Jun 1, 2020 at 10:55pm PDT

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The point of posting black images is to fill up Instagram, taking space from the typical fare posted on the platform and freeing up time and resources for people to educate themselves on race and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite the good intentions of those participating, some have warned against posting along with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, pointing out that it is used as a resource for protestors to share information through social media.

Rapper Lil Nas X referenced the issue on Twitter, explaining that it’s not a helpful way to take action:

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Many have also encouraged those participating in Black Out Tuesday to donate to organizations working against police brutality, which include Campaign Zero, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund, the GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.

Pat Robertson Scolds Trump for Threatening Military Intervention on Protests: ‘You Just Don’t Do That, Mr President!’

Pat Robertson was not impressed by President Donald Trump telling state governors to use greater force to deal with the chaos from the protests over George Floyd’s death.

The televangelist used his latest program on The 700 Club to encourage Trump to offer empathy to those who’ve peacefully demonstrated against police brutality and racial injustice. Robertson noted that Trump “took a different course” though, to which, he said “it isn’t cool” that the president used his conference call with state governors to lambast them and demand that they “dominate” the protests.

He said ‘I am the president of law and order’ and he issued a heads up. He said I am ready to send in military troops if the nation’s governors don’t act to quell the violence in American cities. Matter of fact, he spoke of them as being ‘jerks.’ You just don’t do that, Mr. President! It isn’t cool!”

(H/T Right Wing Watch)

Watch above.

Kellyanne Conway Slams Bishop Who Objected to Trump Stunt at Her Church: ‘That is Not Her Church. That is Not Her Bible’

President Donald Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, shot back at Episcopalian Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, who criticized the president’s appearance at St. John’s Church after rioters set it on fire, on Fox News, Tuesday, declaring, “That is not ‘her church.’ That is not ‘her bible.’”

Budde told CNN on Monday that she was “outraged” by President Trump’s appearance at the church, claiming, “The president just used a bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.”

After Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asked Conway about the bishop’s comments, Conway replied, “How ironic, because just moments ago in the Oval Office, I was there, and the president, with the first lady and the vice president on either side of him, signed an executive order furthering his policies with respect to religious liberty here in this great country and worldwide.”

“That follows, Harris, on the president addressing the United Nations General Assembly last September on the matter of religious liberty, saying please stop persecuting people based on their faith, that we will not support nations that do so, and this is a continuum by this president,” she continued, adding, “Ten short days ago, eleven days ago, he said, ‘Reopen our places of worship, we need more prayer not less, stop treating them like they’re not essential. Stop discriminating against these places of worship.’”

Conway went on, “That followed closely with praying for the souls of George Floyd and the African-American police officer in Oakland who also lost his life, and then the president was over at St. John’s today. We went to the St. John Paul II Shrine, where the president and the first lady laid a wreath commemorating, I think, the 41st anniversary of the former pontiff in Poland and also his 100th birthday that just passed.”

“Why do I say all that? Because that is the best answer to the question you asked about the Episcopal minister,” Conway explained. “That is not ‘her church.’ That is not ‘her bible.’ We don’t look into other people’s hearts and souls and discern and judge what their faith is.”

“Why the president felt compelled to walk there? Why he held that bible up? That is a symbol to everyone that we will not allow arsonists and anarchists who set that fire ablaze, who really I think demean the memory of those who have lost their lives in the name of their respective faith and religions,” she concluded. “We won’t allow them to dissuade us from practicing our religion.”

Watch above via Fox News.

Republican Senator Sasse Condemns Trump Stunt Treating ‘The Word of God as a Political Prop’

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Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) slammed President Donald Trump having police forcibly clear protestors outside the White House so that he could stage a photo op in front of a church in Washington D.C. Tuesday night.

Sasse issued a statement Tuesday, obtained by the National Review, that expressed opposition to “clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.” Read the full statement here:

There is no right to riot, no right to destroy others’ property, and no right to throw rocks at police. But there is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop. Every public servant in America should be lowering the temperature and that means saying two basic truths over and over: (1) police injustice — like the evil murder of George Floyd — is repugnant and merits peaceful protest aimed at change; (2) riots are abhorrent acts of violence that hurt the innocent. Say both things loudly and repeatedly, as Americans work to end the violence and injustice.

Heavily armed police forcefully cleared protestors outside the White House shortly before President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden speech on Tuesday night. Roughly thirty minutes before the 7 p.m. curfew, police used tear gas and flash grenades to clear the crowd of peaceful protestors. One journalist was brutally beaten. The crackdown was carried out to that Trump could walk through Lafayette Park, from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he posed with a Bible for cameras.

Sasse is the rare Republican in office to criticize Trump for the stunt. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the move an “abuse of power,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) deemed it “repulsive and frightening.”

“The president’s abhorrent abuse of military is what you’d expect from a two bit dictator,” he said, announcing a Judiciary Committee hearing “to stop the militarization of our nation.”