WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As protests continue across the country, lawmakers in Washington are split over the president’s response to the national outcry.
“This is a law and order president,” Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) said Tuesday.
Loeffler said President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden address is proof he’s working to protect the American people.
“My first and highest duty, as president, is to defend our great country,” Trump said Monday.
His comments came as peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody continued to turn into riots. The president urged governors to crack down on violent protesters and threatened to send in the U.S. military should the governors fail to stop the violence.
As the president spoke Monday, police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters near the White House to make a path for President Trump to venture on foot outside the White House fence. He then stopped in front of St. John’s Church just a few steps away from the White House.
Republican Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) said the president was making a statement.
“The president made it clear the president was not going to be run by those who want to destroy us,” he said.
Collins said police cleared the protesters because of violence in that area the night before.
“That was just absolutely unnecessary,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said.
Butterfield said he was disappointed in the president’s speech and actions.
“What he did yesterday was not encouragement it was division.”
Butterfield said he plans to attend a North Carolina memorial service for George Floyd on Saturday.