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Trump walks past police in Lafayette Park after visiting outside St. John's Church. Photo: Patrick Semansky, File/AP

In a flash, the culture wars seem to be leaving President Trump behind — and his photo op last week seems to have accelerated the process.

Why it matters: Lafayette Square, which sits just across Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House, became a focal point after police used tear gas and batons to clear protesters and journalists out of Trump's way.

  • “Gas us. Shoot us. Beat us. We’re still here,” said a sign hung on the tall black fence erected to wall off the park, the AP reports.
  • “I’m still going back to Lafayette Square because it is the epicenter of our democracy,” 28-year-old D.C. resident Lia Poteet — who was injured during the demonstration — told the AP.

The 10 days since Lafayette Square have not been kind to Trump:

  • The joint chiefs chair publicly apologized for his participation. "I should not have been there," said Gen. Mark Milley today.
  • His defense secretary Mark Esper publicly disagreed with him about invoking the Insurrection Act to use active duty military to police U.S. cities. So did his previous defense secretary, James Mattis.
  • His Senate allies broke with his Confederacy defenses: Only two, Sens. Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton, opposed an amendment to the annual defense funding bill that pushes to rename bases that honor Confederate generals. This was after Trump vowed no changes would be allowed.
  • His House allies aren't riding to his defense: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he isn't opposed to renaming the bases, and House Democrats are working on a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
  • Across the South, statues honoring Confederate generals are coming down in states ranging from Virginia to Alabama and Kentucky to Florida.
  • And NASCAR has publicly banned the display of the flag at its events, a suggestion that would have been inconceivable not so long ago.
  • The kicker: A majority of Americans support NFL players kneeling, Axios' Jeff Tracy reports, citing a Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

The bottom line: Trump staked out his side of the culture wars a long time ago, but that side seems to be shrinking fast.

Go deeper

Read: Whistleblower says officials considered using "heat ray" on D.C. protesters

Trump walking back to the White House after standing for photos outside St John's Episcopal church across from Lafayette Square on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Federal officials stockpiled ammunition at the D.C Armory and sought crowd control devices before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in June, a whistleblower said in written submissions to Congress.

Why it matters: D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco's testimony is a part of a congressional investigation into law enforcement's use of force against demonstrators protesting George Floyd's death in the square.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.