comScore Dana Pittard: 'Shameful' if Trump Cleared Protests for Photo

Major General Pittard on Fox News: If Trump Cleared Out Park For Photo Op That’s ‘Close to Shameful’

Major General Dana Pittard said on Fox News Wednesday that if President Donald Trump cleared out protesters near the White House Monday night just for a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church, it was “close to shameful.”

Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner aired video of Defense Secretary Mark Esper denying that tear gas was used on protesters demonstrating in Lafayette Square — despite reports from the ground — but conceded that police used smoke canisters and pepper balls to disperse the crowd.

“I, like everybody else, watched it on television,” Pittard said in response. “It appeared to be tear gas, but if it was smoke, ok, it was smoke. But they were clearing out peaceful protestors at that point and this was before curfew.”

“If it was to merely allow the president to across the street to do a photo-op at church that’s close to shameful.”

On Monday, police forcefully cleared out peaceful protesters near the White House — using gas and beatings — minutes before Trump addressed the nation. At the end of his seven minute speech, Trump said he was leaving for a “very, very special place,” which was St. John’s to take a picture with a Bible. Members of St. John’s Church were “outraged” by Trump’s decision to use the church as a “prop,” and said tear gas was used to clear them out.

“Is there a discernible difference, or is it just a distinction without a difference, between smoke canisters, pepper balls and their effects, and this report of tear gas?” Faulkner asked the retired commander.

“Well sure. Smoke canisters clear an area and allows troops and law enforcement to move forward under cover of that smoke, and it disorganizes a crowd,” he explained. “Tear gas of course is a chemical agent that causes you to tear up and you’ve got to cover your face and you’ve got to get out of that area. It’s very irritating. So that’s the difference.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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