Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution seeking to condemn Donald Trump after federal officers used tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters in order to clear Lafayette Square, near the White House.
According to the Hill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the legislation via unanimous consent, giving one senator the power to block it, while issuing a challenge.
“If a senator objects, they should be asked if they believe Americans do not have the constitutional right to exercise the freedom of speech. … Do they support the president’s use of tear gas against people, including families, who are peacefully protesting in a public park?” Schumer said.
Trump drew wide-spread anger when the park was cleared just so he could visit St. John’s Church.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington slammed Trump for the action.
“…He sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard. I am outraged,” the bishop said earlier this week.
McConnell however claimed that the resolution did nothing to address the racial injustice in the country or end the unrest.
“It pays more attention to the precise ways that federal law enforcement affects presidential movement around the White House instead of cities that have been consumed by rioting, looting and violence against police for several nights in a row,” he said.
“There’s no universe where Americans think Democrats’ obsession with condemning President Trump is [a] more urgent priority than ending the riots or advancing racial justice,” McConnell claimed.
Then, McConnell introduced his own resolution which called for “order [to] be immediately restored to the cities of the United States so that citizens may have peace and the legitimate grievances of peaceful protestors may be heard and considered.”
That resolution did not address the treatment of protesters, and Schumer blocked it, calling it “insufficient” according to the Hill.