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Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A U.S. Park Police spokesperson told Vox it was a "mistake" to say in a Tuesday statement that tear gas was not used the day prior to clear protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of President Trump's photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church.

The big picture: Sgt. Eduardo Delgado described the mistake as a difference in semantics. The department — as it claimed in its statement — only used "smoke canisters and pepper balls," which, he conceded, can cause tears and irritate eyes.

  • Delgado maintained that the U.S. Park Police statement denying the use of tear gas was accurate, noting they did not use tear gas. But he acknowledged that saying the substance was not used could appear to be misleading.
  • "I think the term 'tear gas' doesn't even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using 'tear gas' because we just assumed people would think CS or CN," Delgado said, referring to two common forms of tear gas.
  • "It was kind of a fault on our part just not saying in the first place 'we did not use CN or CS, we used smoke and pepper balls,' and that would've made it a moot point," Delgado said.

Be smart: The term "tear gas" used to broadly mean a synthetic chemical irritant, Vox notes.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Poll: A majority of Pennsylvanians oppose fracking

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fifty-two percent oppose fracking in a CBS News poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania, while 48% favor the oil-and-gas extraction method, a finding within the poll's margin of error.

The big picture: Pennsylvania is a key swing state where natural gas development is a major industry, and President Trump's campaign has sought to turn Joe Biden's energy plans into a political liability.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump, Melania received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  3. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  5. World: Italy tightens restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants — PA announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge.
  6. Local: Colorado sets timeline for return to normalcy.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were both vaccinated at the White House in January, a Trump adviser tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump declared at CPAC on Sunday that "everybody" should get the coronavirus vaccine — the first time he's encouraged his supporters, who have been more skeptical of getting vaccinated, to do so.