A letter shared by President Donald Trump on Twitter has labeled the George Floyd protesters outside of the White House as "terrorists." Written by John Dowd, one of the president's attorneys who represented him during part of the Russia investigation, according to Huffington Post, seemingly addressed to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in response to his rebuttal of the president's military response to the protests. The letter was shared by Trump on Thursday due to it being "of interest to the American people."
I thought this letter from respected retired Marine and Super Star lawyer, John Dowd, would be of interest to the American People. Read it! pic.twitter.com/I5tjysckZh— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
In the letter, Dowd refers to the group of peaceful protesters who gathered Washington's Lafayette Square on Monday and were violently pushed out by the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as "phony protesters" and "terrorists using idle hate-filled students to burn and destroy." He claims that the group, which had been seen on multiple news outlets standing peacefully and not inciting violence, "were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for the 1900 curfew." It goes on to state that Trump "has done more to help our minority brothers and sisters in three years than anyone in the last fifty." Multiple outlets, including CNN and Politico, have reached out to the White House for comment regarding whether Trump agrees with the description of the protesters as "terrorists."
Dowd's letter was shared just a day after Mattis, in a statement published by The Atlantic, condemned the president's response to Washington, D.C. protesters. In his statement, Mattis said that Trump "is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people." He added that "we must reject any thinking of our cities as a 'battlespace' that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate.'" He also said that "militarizing" the response to Floyd's death and the protests "erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect."
His remarks came after Trump announced Monday his intent to utilize the military to combat the growing protests. In a show of force, peaceful protesters gathered outside the White House were tear-gassed to clear a path for the president to walk to a church for a photo-op in which he held a Bible. Later that night, low-flying military helicopters used their downdrafts to create intense winds and gusts of dust in an attempt to thin crowds in the city.
The militarized response and the shows of force have largely been criticized. In response to the events that unfolded Monday night, the District of Columbia National Guard has asked for an investigation into the use of helicopters to disperse crowds.