Protesters on Saturday made their way around military vehicles parked on march routes and National Guard troops stood in front of the White House’s newly expanded perimeter fence.
Trump was condemned by political leaders from both sides of the aisle after tear gas and rubber bullets were used to remove protesters near the White House in Lafayette Square on Monday for a presidential photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis publicly panned the Trump administration’s response to the demonstrations in a statement on Wednesday, saying he was “angry and appalled” with the president’s actions.
“We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose,” he wrote.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday ordered home the remainder of the 1,600 active-duty troops brought to the region to respond to protests.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday said “today is the day we pushed the army out of” Washington during an address at the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House.
“We are well equipped to handle large demonstrations and First Amendment activities,” Bowser had previously written in a letter to the president.
Trump continued to criticize Bowser and further fuel tensions between activists and police throughout the week, on Thursday tweeting a letter calling protesters “terrorists.”
After a day largely free of customary tweeting Saturday, the president tweeted: ”LAW & ORDER!” at 6:49 p.m. Later Saturday evening, Trump tweeted: “Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated. National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!”
Trump had no public events on his daily schedule for and was not seen to have left the White House.
About 100 protesters gathered Saturday at his Doral golf resort just outside Miami, in a demonstration organized by Latinos for Black Lives Matter. Largely peaceful protests were also held in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, Chicago and Atlanta.
The protests came as the outline of a sweeping new police reform bill being drafted by House and Senate Democrats circulated on Capitol Hill.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), would ban chokeholds, limit “qualified immunity” for police officers, create a national misconduct registry, end the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases and make lynching a federal crime among other dramatic changes.
But Trump’s hard line on the issue may make it difficult for Republican lawmakers to sign onto the initiative.