Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called for Attorney General William Barr to resign Wednesday over his order to extend the perimeter near the White House and push protesters away from Lafayette Square on Monday shortly before President Trump spoke.
“Time and time again, U.S. Attorney General Barr has proven that he is more committed to protecting Trump than protecting the rule of law,” Warner said Wednesday in a campaign email.
Warner’s email cited The Washington Post which reported on Tuesday that Barr ordered law enforcement officials to complete the extension pushing protesters away from the area ahead of the city’s 7 p.m. curfew.
“These protesters, who were demonstrating for Black lives, were forcibly cleared using violent tactics including tear gas. All for a photo for Donald Trump,” Warner said.
Peaceful protesters near the White House were forcibly cleared from Lafayette Square Monday evening ahead of Trump’s address from the Rose Garden. Trump then walked through the square to the nearby historic St. John’s Church for a photo opportunity.
In his email, Warner included a link to a petition “demanding Barr’s resignation.”
He also called out Barr for moving to drop the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn for charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia shortly before Trump took office.
“One thing is clear: Barr is unfit for office. He is acting as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer instead of fulfilling his duty to act in the public’s best interest,” Warner said.
Democrats widely condemned Trump over his photo at the church and the use of tear gas fired at peaceful protesters to clear the area.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday Barr made the decision to clear Lafayette Square “long before” discussions about Trump’s visit to the church.
She also defended Trump’s controversial photo, comparing it to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspecting World War II bombing damage in 1941.
“For this president, it was powerful and important to send a message that the rioters, the looters the anarchists, they will not prevail, that burning churches are not what America is about,” McEnany said Wednesday.