Statement on Trump’s authoritarian photo op

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Contact: Logan Smith, lsmith@bendthearc.us, 202-709-8825

Statement on Trump’s authoritarian photo op

Tear-gassing protesters in order to stage a photo op outside a church as Trump and GOP call for more violence against Americans

WASHINGTON — Bend the Arc released the following statement on Tuesday in response to President Trump’s photo op outside St. John’s Episcopal Church yesterday, in which federal officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear out a protest so Trump could make the visit:

“In the middle of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black lives and livelihoods, President Trump is having protesters fired on with tear-gas, rubber bullets, and flash grenades while he and other Republicans call for more violence against Americans who are rising up against white supremacy,” said Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. “As white nationalists exploit the situation, the president is helping them by spreading disinformation, pointing fingers, and escalating his calls for violence. Their masks are off.”

“As Jews, we’ve seen this before,” added Rabbi Kimelman-Block. “And our nation must see this photo op for what it truly is — a tactic not only to announce that Trump will be mobilizing the military to suppress anti-racist dissent, but also a dangerous, anti-democratic call to arms for his supporters based in the long tradition of exploiting religion as a moral justification for white supremacist violence. We know what authoritarianism looks like, and this is it. We demand that police and military forces de-escalate and immediately cease all violence against protesters and Black communities. And we demand that state and local governments launch independent investigations into the deaths or injuries of anyone hurt or killed during the protests.”

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