A new report released by the Office of Inspector General indicates United States Park Police (USPP) had plans to clear Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. prior to any knowledge of former President Donald Trump’s appearance - called a "photo op" by some outlets - in front of St. John’s Church on June 1, 2020.
Trump walked through the park to the church shortly after USPP officials cleared protestors from the area on June 1, 2020, generating critical media headlines connecting the USPP actions to the President’s arrival.
Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt released a statement on the report, clarifying that the cause of the actions of the USPP was an “operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park.”
“We determined that the evidence did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park,” Greenblatt wrote.
Instead, as the report noted, the Secret Service “procured antiscale fencing to establish a more secure perimeter around Lafayette Park that was to be delivered and installed that same day.”
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the area caused injury to at least 49 USPP officers along with federal and private property being vandalized in the span of two days from May 30 to 31, 2020, the review details.
Feeling vindicated by the report, Trump released a statement within minutes of the report’s release:
Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!
As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today’s highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators who are causing chaos and death to our cities. In this instance, they tried burning down the church the day before the clearing. Fortunately, we were there to stop the fire from spreading beyond the basement—and it was our great honor and privilege to do so. Again, thank you to the Inspector General!