The country started to release stay-at-home orders in more places than it probably should during May, but then on May 25 worry about that was overtaken by the murder of a black man by a Minneapolis cop. George Floyd was suffocated by a policeman who put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck while Floyd was lying on the ground and leaving it there for nearly nine minutes.
In this day and age, of course, videotape of the crime surfaced quickly and set off loud protests in Minneapolis, followed quickly by similar protests throughout the country. The first couple of nights were ugly with burning and looting, but that seemed to calm down by the first week in June. At least, it calmed down everywhere but the Oval Office. Trump went completely bonkers, declaring himself a “law and order” President (hoping to emulate the Nixon winning message in 1968 while forgetting that unlike Nixon then, Trump is an incumbent President, not a challenger) and staging a photo op which went horribly wrong
But there has never been a photo op quite like the one President Donald Trump staged on Monday, when noxious gas, flashbangs and rubber bullets were used to force protesters from Lafayette Park to clear the way before Trump strode to St. John’s Church and posed holding up a bible.
And perhaps there has never been a photo op that has gone so spectacularly wrong.
As demonstrations spread throughout the US over the killing of George Floyd in police custody — and a few protests turned violent –Trump warned governors they were being “weak.” In Rose Garden comments before the church photo op, he pronounced himself the “president of law and order.”
Retired generals, faith leaders and even a few Republican elected officials excoriated Trump for his response to the protests.
It remains to be seen what the end result of these protests will be, but it’s safe to say Trump is disconcerted and hasn’t a clue how to respond to them. His poll numbers are dreadful as of June 7: 54% of Americans disapprove of him while only 42% approve. He had thought he could “send the troops in to solve the problem in the states,” but not a single Governor asked him for help, which is required before any soldiers could move. He’s hunkered down in the White House, raging at the television and what’s left of his staff.