U.S. Attorney General William Barr rebuked the false narrative perpetuated by legacy media Sunday that protestors cleared near the White House last week were gathering in peaceful demonstrations. On Monday, protestors were dispersed by park police by pepper balls as the city neared at 7 p.m. curfew by Barr’s orders moments before President Donald Trump walked across the street to observe the damage done to the historic St. John’s Church.
“They were not peaceful protestors,” Barr said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “That’s one of the big lies that the media is—seems to be perpetuating at this point.”
CBS’ Margaret Brennan pushed back citing several of the network’s reporters who were present.
“Three of my CBS colleagues were there. We talked to them,” Brennan said. “They did not hear warnings.”
There were three warnings given. But let’s get back to why we took that action. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, OK, there were violent riots in Lafayette Park where the park police were under constant attack at the, behind the bike rack fences. On Sunday, things reached a crescendo. The officers were pummeled with bricks, crowbars were used to pry up the pavers at the park and they were hurled at police. There were fires set in not only St. John’s Church, but a historic building at Lafayette was burned down.
Brennan tried to brush off the violence as simply “looters,” a characterization that Barr immediately disputed.
“Not looters, these were—there were the the violent rioters who dominated Lafayette Park,” Barr said, noting that they broke into the nearby Treasury Department and were attacking police with projectiles. “This has been totally obscured by the media.”
Barr explained that the decision to expand the perimeter surrounding Lafayette Park was an order he gave to the park police Monday afternoon, with no connection to the president’s visit to St. John’s Church.
“The park police was facing what they considered to be a very rowdy and non-compliant crowd. And there were projectiles being hurled at the police,” Barr said.
Brennan once again cited reporting from her colleagues who observed no such behavior.
“I was there. They were thrown. I saw them thrown,” Barr said.
“And you believe that what the police did using tear gas and projectiles was appropriate?” Brennan asked, posing the same false charge that tear gas was employed at the park that day repeated by every major news outlet.
“This was not an operation to respond to that particular crowd. It was an operation to move the perimeter one block,” Barr asserted. “They announced three times. They didn’t move. By the way, there was no tear gas used. The tear gas was used Sunday when they had to clear H Street to allow the fire department to come in to save St. John’s Church. That’s when tear gas was used.”
Barr continued with criticism of how the media reported on Monday’s events:
All I heard was comments about how peaceful protesters were. I didn’t hear about the fact that there were 150 law enforcement officers injured and many taken to the hospital with concussions. So it wasn’t a peaceful protest. We had to get control of Lafayette Park, and we had to do it as soon as we were able to do that.