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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.

34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.