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IJR

Barr Denies That Protesters Were Pushed Back for a Photo Op

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Critics of President Donald Trump say peaceful protesters who had gathered in front of the White House were pushed back so the president could have a photo-op.

Attorney General William Barr ordered that a law enforcement perimeter around the White House be extended on Monday. After protesters were pushed back, Trump delivered remarks at the White House then walked to the historic St. John’s Church where he posed for a photo. 

During a press conference on Thursday, Barr denied that he ordered law enforcement to push the protesters back for a photo op, “My interest was to carry out the law enforcement functions of the federal government and to protect federal facilities and federal personnel. And also to address the rioting that was interfering with the government’s function.”

“I did not know that [Trump] was going to do that until later in the day after our plans were well underway to move the perimeter,” Barr said. 

He continued, “So there was no correlation between our tactical plan of moving the perimeter out by one block and the president’s going over to the church.”

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“I think the president is the head of the executive branch and the chief executive of the nation and should be able to walk outside the White House … to the church of presidents,” he added.

Additionally, Barr said that Trump asked several members of his administration to walk to the church with him. However, he said he did not view it as a “political act.”

“I think it was appropriate for us to go over with him,” he added. 

Trump has received heavy criticism for the decision to disperse the protesters from Democrats, Republicans, faith leaders, and former senior members of the U.S. Military including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, as IJR reported

However, Trump has defended the decision to walk over to the church for a photo op. He claimed that “it’s only the other side that didn’t like it.”

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