A Coward Takes a Walk to a Photo-Op washingtonpost.com

Alana Wise, NPR:

Escalating his rhetoric during a period of roiling national crises, President Trump on Monday threatened to deploy the U.S. military to cities or states that don’t take “necessary” actions to halt violent protests, saying the armed forces will “quickly solve the problem for them.”

Trump’s Rose Garden remarks came as just across the street, law enforcement officers deployed tear gas and shot rubber bullets to forcefully disperse peaceful protesters. Washington, D.C., had set a curfew Monday of 7 p.m. ET.

The protesters were removed from the Lafayette Square area across from the White House, apparently to clear the way for the president to walk to St. John’s Church, where he posed briefly for photographers, holding a Bible. Parts of the church compound were damaged by rioters on Sunday night.

Mark Helenowski adjusted the slick video produced by the White House, set to bizarrely stirring music, to more faithfully acknowledge the scene as it happened.

Eugene Scott, Washington Post:

Trump has been sympathetic to certain protests, those including people who support him. In addition to calling marchers, which included white-nationalist groups, in Charlottesville in 2017 “very fine people,” the president did not criticize Americans protesting stay-at-home orders when they got adversarial with police.

Trump’s effort to portray himself as a supporter of peaceful protests does not match his recent or long-term history. It was always unlikely the protesters going to the streets this week would buy into his claims that he supported their rights. The question after Monday is how will those he actually sought to reach out to with his march to foist the Bible feel their bond with him was strengthened, given the trade-off he made to get it.

Exactly. The president’s allies have responded mostly in the form of cowardly dodges and defence, but some have more clearly denounced such a ridiculous photo-op that sought to keep the story out of the frame. That is, of course, what the president wants; it is not what he ought to get.