Speaking from the Rose Garden on Monday evening, Donald Trump issued an unprecedented threat from an American president: that he would send “thousands of heavily armed soldiers” into Washington, D.C., to quell protests and would follow by invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy the military into other U.S. cities if mass protests against police brutality continued.

As he spoke, federal law enforcement officials working alongside military police officers fired projectiles and tear gas upon American citizens protesting peacefully just yards from the White House so that the president could be photographed holding up a Bible in front of a nearby church.

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