President Trump advocated a “MAGA Night at the White House” on Saturday in response to a demonstration Friday night outside the White House gates in which protesters clashed with Secret Service and police.
Mr. Trump said the disturbance, which he watched from inside the executive mansion, had little or nothing to do with the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. He also said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wouldn’t allow Metropolitan Police to intervene, a charge she denied.
“The professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’ at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble,” the president tweeted. “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA Night at the White House???”
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the White House Friday night, some of them chanting “I can’t breathe” in reference to Mr. Floyd’s death. Secret Service used shields to push demonstrators off of Pennsylvania Avenue at one point, while the White House was on lock down temporarily.
Some demonstrators threw water at law enforcement officers, and others attacked a Fox News crew.
Around the nation, protesters in many cities demonstrated again Friday night over Mr. Floyd’s death.
The president called the protesters at the White House “‘Organized Groups’ that have nothing to do with George Floyd. Sad!”
He said the Secret Service did a “great job,” giving an account of the disturbance from his vantage point inside the White House.
“They were not only totally professional, but very cool,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the ‘protesters’ scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard — didn’t know what hit them. The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic.”
He said it was a “big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence.”
“If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen,” the president said. “That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”
He appeared to quote Secret Service agents telling him, “We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and good practice.’”
“As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
The president also said, “On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. ‘Not their job.’ Nice!”
The mayor responded on Twitter, “My police department will always protect DC and all who are in it whether I agree with them (such as those exercising their First Amendment Right) or those I don’t (namely, @realdonaldtrump).”
“I call upon our city and our nation to exercise great restraint even while this President continues to try to divide us,” Ms. Bowser said. “Our power is in peace, in our voices and ultimately at the ballot box in November.”
The mayor said of Mr. Trump, “While he hides behind his fence afraid/alone, I stand w/ people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism.”
“There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man,” she tweeted.