House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wants answers from President Trump about the deployment of troops and unidentified law enforcement officers in Washington DC patrolling peaceful protesters.
Pelosi raised the alarm on the presence of soldiers, national guard troops, FBI, National Park Service and other unidentified federal officers making a show of force around the nation’s capital amidst the demonstrations for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“What is the mission,” Pelosi said at a press conference at the Capitol Thursday. “Who’s in charge? What is the chain of command? We expect an answer.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., holds up a letter she sent to President Donald Trump as she speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pelosi sent a letter to Trump Thursday asking for a full list of agencies involved and clarifications of the roles and responsibilities of the troops and federal law enforcement resources operating in the city.
“We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos,” the letter said.
The letter comes after largely peaceful protesters were forcefully dispersed from a park near the White House this week so Trump could walk to a nearby historic church that was damaged by fire to pose for a photo holding a Bible. Attorney General William Barr ordered law enforcement to clear Lafayette Square before Trump’s visit to St. John’s church.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 02: Members of the D.C. National Guard stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as demonstrators participate in a peaceful protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. Protests continue to be held in cities throughout the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
“We have seen soldiers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,” Pelosi’s letter said. “We have witnessed Bureau of Prisons officers in Lafayette Square. We have seen National Park Service officers hassling peaceful protestors. Several states have deployed members of their National Guard to D.C. This is in addition to the FBI and other security forces operating in our nation’s capital.”
Trump said he respects peaceful protests but looting, rioting and violence must end. He’s called for governors to get tougher on agitators nationwide and promised to “clamp down” on protests in DC.