“We need to restore order,” the former president told his chief of staff before his infamous Bible photo op

By Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

Former President Donald Trump instructed Mark Meadows to “bust some heads and make some arrests” of Black Lives Matter protesters who had gathered outside the White House in the summer of 2020, the former chief of staff writes in his new book.

Trump gave the instruction as he prepared to walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church to squint and have his picture taken while holding a Bible. The U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops tear-gassed protesters in Lafayette Square, which sits between the White House and the church, to clear a path for the president.

donald trump

“Upstairs in the Residence, President Trump was growing anxious,” Meadows reportedly wrote in The Chief’s Chief, which published Tuesday. “He had given an order for the park to be cleared, and it was not being followed. The various law enforcement agencies that were supposed to be under the command of [then-Attorney General] Bill Barr were clearly not communicating with one another, and it did not seem that a single arrest had yet been made.”

Protesters had gathered in Lafayette Square on June 1 as part of the demonstrations sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. According to Meadows, the protesters were trying to take down a statue of President Andrew Jackson that stood in the park, prompting him to phone Trump. “It looks like we have a situation out here,” Meadows said, according to the book. “They’re trying to tear down statues and vandalizing the park. I assume that we have the authority to deploy whatever law enforcement is necessary to fix this?”

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