President Donald J. Trump holds a Bible after walking from the White House Monday evening, June 1, 2020, to St. John's Episcopal Church, known as the church of Presidents, that was damaged by fire during demonstrations in nearby LaFayette Square Sunday evening. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)
Democrats and the legacy media in America have lambasted former President Trump over and over, claiming protesters were removed from Lafayette Park near the White House last year so he could walk across to a church there and have a photo op holding a Bible.
Only that's not what happened.
A report from the DOJ's inspector general found that, "On the morning of June 1 (2020), 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 USPP, in coordination with the Secret Service, determined that it was necessary to clear protesters from the area in and around the park to enable the contractor’s employees to safely install the fence."
The IG report continued, "The USPP planned to implement the operation as soon as the fencing materials and sufficient law enforcement officers arrived at the park. Six other law enforcement agencies assisted the USPP and the Secret Service in the operation to clear and secure areas near the park. The operation began at 6:23 p.m. and was completed by 6:50 p.m. Shortly thereafter, at 7:01 p.m., President Trump walked from the White House through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church. At 7:30 p.m., the contractor began assembling and installing the antiscale fence and completed the work by approximately 12:30 a.m. on June 2."
Trump celebrated what he called his exoneration.
"Now that I have been totally exonerated on the Mueller Witch Hunt with a charge of No Collusion, I have often wondered, if a fake investigation is illegally started based on information provided and paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, shouldn’t they be held accountable?" he asked in a statement.
"Not to mention, wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and interfering with years of a presidential administration? I fought the made-up Hoax strongly and effectively, and I won," the former president added.
The IG essentially demolished the mainstream media's narrative that claimed the protesters were removed in order to hold a photo op.
Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt said, "The evidence established that relevant [U.S. Park Police] officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day."
Trump said, "This week I have been totally exonerated by the Inspector General in the clearing of Lafayette Park, despite earlier reports that it was done for political purposes."
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley pointed out that, "For over a year, there has been one fact that has been repeated in literally thousands of news stories: former Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the clearing of Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020 to allow former President Donald Trump to hold his controversial photo op in front of St. John’s Church."
He said from the outset, there were reasons to question that narrative.
But he said the IG report now "debunks the conspiracy theory that the Lafayette Square area was cleared to make way for the Trump photo op."
Turley explained the violence by the protesters was significant – so serious a threat that Prseident Trump "had to be moved into the bunker because the Secret Service feared a breach of security around the White House."
So the idea that the fencing there needed to be improved was "a logical and necessary move."
He said there never was evidence Barr knew of any photo op before approving the security, but even so, "media and legal experts continued to claim as a fact that this was all done for the photo op."
"In today’s echo journalism, it is doubtful that any of this will matter. The myth of the photo op fueled the anger and fed the ratings. It is doubtful that these same media and legal experts will now acknowledge that they fostered a conspiracy theory without any concrete support," he said.
"The IG Report may have more to say about our media culture than the clearing operation itself. As with the effective media blackout on the Hunter Biden story and the Chinese lab leak theory before the election, the media actively shaped the news to fit a narrative. It worked. Biden was elected and the public still believes these false accounts. For many Democrats, Bill Barr will remain the man who violently crushed protesters for a photo op. As the old media saying goes, it was (and remains) 'a fact too good to check,'" he said.