U.S. President Donald Trump's reelection campaign demanded Tuesday night that news organizations issue "corrections" to articles reporting on security forces' use of tear gas to disperse protesters outside the White House the night before, the Washington Post reports.
Amid nationwide protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer, tear gas and rubber bullets were fired into crowds Monday outside the White House. Forces were trying to make way to allow Trump to walk to a nearby church for a photo-op. Shortly thereafter, the police forcefully removed hundreds of protesters from Lafayette Square, across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, despite the fact that the imposed 7 P.M. curfew hadn’t yet come into effect nor were the protesters violent in any way.
In a statement released by the U.S. Park Police, the use of pepper spray was denied, claiming that "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."
According to the Post, Trump's campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said neither the U.S. Park Police " nor any of their law enforcement partners, used tear gas to quell rising violence.”
“Every news organization which reported the tear gas lie should immediately correct or retract its erroneous reporting,” he added.
The Post further reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the chemical compounds fired at protests were in fact tear gas.
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Trump also denied reports that he was rushed to the White House bunker as protests continued outside the White House Friday night, insisting that he was instead doing it to carry out an "inspection."
“I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection. There was no problem during the day,” Trump told Fox Radio's “Brian Kilmeade Show.”
“It was a false report. I wasn’t down,” Trump added.