Trump shares letter calling peaceful protesters “terrorists”

A letter from defense attorney and former Trump attorney John Dowd appears to have been addressed to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and refutes Mattis’ statement Wednesday, humiliating Trump’s response to protests across the country after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

“The fake protesters near Lafayette were not peaceful and not real,” Dowd’s letter claims, citing no evidence. “They are terrorists who use empty hatreds filled by students to burn and destroy. They abused and disrespected the police while the police were preparing the area for curfew in 1900.”

CNN contacted the White House to comment on the protesters’ description as “terrorists.”

The president’s decision to share the letter and his shocking description of Americans exercising their constitutional rights comes as he continues to rely on his strong approach to ongoing demonstrations. He declared himself “your president of order and peace” on Monday because peaceful protesters right next door to the White House were scattered with gasoline, gunfire and rubber bullets, apparently so he could visit a nearby church.

He stayed in the crowded building, producing a Bible for the cameras, just minutes before returning to the White House.

The letter drew condemnation from the Modern Military Association of America, a nonprofit organization for the LGBTQ military-veteran community.

“Donald Trump has just crossed a very serious line that requires swift and violent condemnation of every member of Congress,” said the group’s interim executive director, aviation veteran Jennifer Dane. “Promoting a letter by American citizens peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights as ‘terrorists’ is a terrible violation of his oath to preserve, protect and defend the United States Constitution. It is now more crucial than ever for Trump to be held accountable for his reckless actions.” ”

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The episode followed nearly a week of protests across the country that sometimes turned violent over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

In response to the president’s approach, Mattis issued a statement Wednesday warning that the United States “must reject any thought of our cities as a ‘battlefield’ in which our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.'”

“At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we have witnessed in Washington, DC, raises a conflict – a false conflict – between the military and civil society,” he wrote. is Mattis.

The president has repeatedly defended his response to the protests and even tweeted later Thursday night that he had no problems with a National Guard helicopter seen flying over protesters in Washington on Monday night.

The Columbia District National Guard is investigating the matter, and Investigative Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has also requested it.

“The problem is not very talented helicopter pilots who fly a little and who want to save our city. The problem is firefighters, robbers, criminals and anarchists, who want to destroy it (and our country)!” Trump tweeted.

The helicopter had a “declared mission” in part and a “deterrence” from criminal activities, including riots and robberies by keeping a presence overhead, according to a defense official who has direct knowledge of the orders given by the crew. The official declined to be identified because the Washington National Guard is now investigating whether the flights were performed properly.

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The UH-72 famine was also meant to prevent “illegal gatherings,” ensure medical evacuation from the crowd if necessary, and provide oversight for command and control to protect the force, the official said.

The investigation, the official said, focuses on how those orders resulted in low-level flights that sent debris flying and intimidating civilians, the official said.

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