Jun 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy
Esper says he had no notice before being led to join Trump photo op
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told NBC on Tuesday he had no notice that he was being led with President Trump on Monday to a photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church, saying: "I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops."
Why it matters: The visit has received backlash from both sides of the political aisle as well as clergy from the church.
- The Trump administration used physical force and pepper balls to disperse crowds from outside the White House so the president could snap the photo.
What he's saying: "I didn't know where I was going," Esper told NBC. "I wanted to see how much damage actually happened."
- Esper also said he had no awareness of plans to disperse protesters, but that he's very proud of the National Guard" following their nationwide response to civil unrests.