DC mayor: Federal response, President Trump’s rhetoric led more peaceful protesters to turn out

President Trump’s rhetoric and the federal response to protests sparked by George Floyd’s death led more peaceful protesters to turn out over the weekend.

Bowser told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week” that the coverage of federal law enforcement using tear gas and to disperse protesters outside of the White House last week prompted more people to attend what became the biggest demonstrations the city has seen in more than a week of protests on Saturday.

“What he actually did, as you saw, for the remaining days would turn out more people and more people who were there for peaceful protests,” she said, referring to Trump. 

“People gathered at various locations and walked down to Black Lives Matter Plaza where you saw a lot of people coming together, healing, organizing, strategizing, and thinking about how to make real the frustrations that they brought with them to these demonstrations,” Bowser said.

Trump has received widespread criticism after protesters were forcibly removed from Lafayette Square last Monday, shortly before the president posed for photos in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church with a Bible. Officials from both parties also urged him to tone down the tweets and statements that became increasingly hostile to protesters and pushed back on his threats to use the U.S. military to quell demonstrations

Raddatz also asked Bowser about the “Defund the Police” painting that the local chapter of Black Lives Matter added to the city’s “Black Lives Matter” mural on 16th Street.

The mayor said the new phrase is “not a part of the mural,” and when asked if it will be painted over, she said she  hasn’t had the “opportunity to review” it.

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