WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that President Donald Trump used U.S. military forces for a "political stunt" last week against peaceful protesters to allow for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
"We saw in Washington, D.C., federal forces used in a political stunt to attack peaceful protests," Bowser said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"We saw the American military moved around our country like toy soldiers to intimidate Americans," she said, adding that the U.S. military should never be used in that way and that Americans "across the country should be scared about that."
Addressing her decision to order the painting of the “Black Lives Matter” on the street leading to the White House on Friday, Bowser said that it's "a representation of an expression of our saying no, but also identifying and claiming a part of our city that had been taken over by federal forces to make it a place for healing, strategizing protest and redress, which is the greatest statement that we can make as Americans and black Americans who want to be recognized for human beings and have our lives matter."
Bowser's comments come a week after Trump ordered the U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops to forcefully disperse demonstrators who were peacefully protesting outside the White House. The crowd was sent running so that Trump could walk over to St. John’s Church for a photo-op in which he held up a Bible.
Late last week, Bowser asked that Trump withdraw "all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from D.C. On Sunday, Trump ordered the National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from the city.