A report from the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded that former President Trump had no connection to the clearing out of protestors from Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. last year. A group of people protesting the death of George Floyd were cleared out using chemical irritants prior to then-President Trump visiting the area for a photo op. Many speculated that Trump’s planned appearance was the key reason protestors were forced to vacate the area however Trump has always vehemently denied the claims.
The Hill reports:
The report ultimately determined that Trump’s plans to visit the park did not influence the officers’ decision to clear it. It was the first to come from several ongoing investigations surrounding the event,
The OIG found that while law enforcement learned on the day of the incident that Trump might visit, U.S. Park Police (USPP), the lead agency overseeing Lafayette Square, had already planned to clear the park in order to install additional fencing around the White House.
Per the report, the commander did not appear to previously know that Trump would enter the park and reportedly responded, “Are you freaking kidding me?” then hung his head and walked away.
The report did identify several issues with the incident, including a determination that protesters were not adequately warned and that a lack of communication to some law enforcement officials using chemical irritants that had not been authorized.
Trump praised the reports in a statement.
“Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!” said Trump.
“As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today’s highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators who are causing chaos and death to our cities. In this instance, they tried burning down the church the day before the clearing,” Trump continued. Fortunately, we were there to stop the fire from spreading beyond the basement—and it was our great honor and privilege to do so. Again, thank you to the Inspector General!”