Democrats have harshly criticized Donald Trump for threatening to use the U.S. military against protesters. Several high profile lawmakers also expressed anger at events in Washington, D.C.
“Turning the army on protestors is what dictatorships do,” Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said.
“It’s literally the antithesis of America. Republicans of good faith and decency need cannot let their party’s position become pushing for an American Tiananmen Square.”
Police removed peaceful protesters using teargas and rubber bullets on Monday so that President Trump could visit St. John’s Church for a photo op.
“Trump just had peaceful demonstrators viciously attacked,” said Senator Bernie Sanders.
“No, Mr. President. This is not a dictatorship. This is the United States of America.”
“Our citizens have a constitutional right to peacefully protest. It’s called the First Amendment.”
Sanders has been an independent senator for Vermont but he was a major candidate in the Democratic race for president, which has technically not concluded.
Senator Kamala Harris also used the word ‘dictator’ to describe the President’s speech.
“These are not the words of a president. They are the words of a dictator,” Harris said.
Trump threatened to deploy troops to states if governors couldn’t get protests under control. It is not clear whether he has the legal power to do so without the states’ permission.
The President’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, was more tempered in her language.
“Tonight the President of the United States used the American military to shoot peaceful protestors with rubber bullets & tear gas them,” she said.
“For a photo op,” Clinton emphasized. “This is a horrifying use of presidential power against our own citizens, & has no place anywhere, let alone in America. Vote.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media
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