As my colleague Sister Toldjah reported earlier, Kayleigh McEnany leveled CNN’s Jim Acosta over the media falsely characterizing what happened in Lafayette Park between protesters and the Park Police.
As the Park Police later explained their response to the “protesters” was not because of the president but because some of the protesters had attacked them.
On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.
But Acosta asked McEnany the equivalent of a “did you beat your wife today” question. He also lies about military being used in the incident. McEnany put him away.
If the White House could do it again, @Acosta asks, "would you have gassed and pummeled protesters to clear the park so the president could have a photo-op?"
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 3, 2020
"No tear gas was used, no rubber bullets were used…
The protesters were told three times over loudspeaker that they needed to move… It grew increasingly unruly…
When an officer is at risk, they have a right to defend themselves."
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 3, 2020
But she also schooled the entire press corps with the real difference between peaceful protesters and rioters.
The First Amendment doesn't give you the right to riot
It doesn't give the right to loot
It doesn't give the right to burn buildings down
It doesn't give the right to deface property
It doesn't give the right to assault
The First Amendment gives the right to peaceably assemble pic.twitter.com/4LlvICxeZX
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) June 3, 2020
“The First Amendment doesn’t give anyone the right to riot,” McEnany explained. “The First Amendment doesn’t give anyone the right to loot. The First Amendment doesn’t give anyone the right to burn down buildings. The First Amendment doesn’t give the right to deface property and it doesn’t give the right to assault private citizens or to assault police officers. The First Amendment does, however, give you the right to peaceably assemble.”
We have reported multiple occasions now where the media doesn’t seem to understand this. They seem to simply disregard or not care about the Park Police report they were attacked. They seem to equate rioters with peaceful protesters and seem to excuse or downplay the violence, even as they themselves are attacked or even as fires are set behind them. Meanwhile, to some of them, the lockdown protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights and not attacking police, were horrible people who wanted to kill Grandma and should be locked up.
Peaceful protest is good and should be protected, rioting is not.