To be clear, the "right of the people to peaceably assemble" is codified in the First Amendment.
Yesterday, in Lafayette Park, hundreds of people did just that. Every news report and on site images confirmed this was a peaceful assembly.
But Trump wanted to create a three-part, orchestrated, authoritarian media spectacle.
Scene 1. Use federal employees, mounted and armed, who cannot say "no" to attack the legal citizens, assaulting them with pepper spray, rubber bullets, flash bangs and tear gas in order to clear a perimeter around the White House and a path to St. John's church.
Scene 2. Minutes later, Trump delivers a law and order speech at a time we need unity and healing, a speech filled with threats and references to delusional and illegal actions, meant to portray him as a tough leader.
Scene 3. Trump walks from the White House to St. John's church and stands, holding up someone's Bible, in a photo op intended to link his oppressive tactics with God, something reminiscent of many tyrants. The Episcopal diocesan bishop had not invited Trump and strenuously objected to the church being co-opted for an un-Christian purpose.
Trump made no mention of George Floyd, police brutality, the need for reform, black citizens' grief, fear and anger or the need for understanding and healing.
This all happened within an hour yesterday evening.
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