CNN’s head White House correspondent was grilling McEnany with questions about the Lafayette Park incident on Monday where Park Police confirmed smoke canisters and pepper balls were used, not tear gas, on protesters who were allegedly throwing projectiles and bricks.
According to Park Police the protesters started throwing things when they were told they needed to disperse because President Trump was preparing to visit the burned St. John’s Episcopal church.
Acosta asked, “would you have gassed and pummeled protesters to clear the park so the president could have a photo-op?”
He asked the question three times and Kayleigh McEnany fired back.
She first put on the record that tear gas wasn’t used on any of the protestors, second, it was done in response to protesters allegedly throwing things at officers and law enforcement finding, “caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street” shortly before 7pm, which was curfew time.
McEnany noted that police officers have the right to defend themselves if they are attacked.
“First, I would note that these protests that were going on in the morning, A.G. Barr had determined that we needed to expand the perimeter by one block on each side. He was surprised, A.G. Barr, when he arrived at the White House to see that that perimeter had not been moved, so he said that we needed to get going with moving that perimeter,” she explained.
“He told to the officers that out there, that was late afternoon, so that decision was made in the morning.”
“The protesters were told three times over loud speaker that they needed to move, and what happened is it grew increasingly unruly. There were projectiles being thrown at officers,” McEnany continued.
“Frozen water bottles were being thrown at officers, and various other projectiles, and the officers had no other choice in that moment than to act and make sure that they were safe and that the perimeter was pushed back, because as we all know, a church was burning in that very area the night before. So the appropriate action was taken.”
As Acosta pressed further, McEnany silenced him when she reminded him of the police officers that have been killed during the rioters because they were caught off guard.