One week after federal law enforcement forcibly pushed back peaceful protesters so President Donald Trump could hold a photo op at a church near the White House, a fence erected to put greater distance between the president and Americans demonstrating in support of racial justice was transformed into a makeshift memorial for black people killed by police officers.
Banners, messages of protest, and street art cover the fence, largely obstructing the view of the White House beyond.Inside the heavily-fortified White House, now surrounded by more than a mile of extra fencing, is an increasingly isolated president.
His heavy-handed response to the national outcry over the death of George Floyd and his threat to send active-duty military to quell unrest on American streets has been met with backlash from top military figures and members of the Republican establishment.
On Monday, he prepared to meet with law enforcement officers at the White House for a roundtable discussion, hardening his image as “law and order” president, as he has resisted making a gesture to demonstrate that he is also listening to the cries of the protesters.
As polls showed Americans by and large disapproved of his handling of the protests and race relations more broadly, the president announced Sunday that he was withdrawing the National Guard from the nation’s capital, claiming that they were no longer needed “now that everything is under perfect control” and that “far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!” on the day that D.C. streets were filled with tens of thousands of protesters.
Trump also mocked the first Republican senator to take part in the protests, Mitt Romney, an erstwhile critic of the president whom Trump has lambasted ever since the Utah senator voted to impeach him earlier this year.