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

Secret Service says it "misdirected" press to leave White House grounds

Protesters and U.S. Park Police clash after demonstrators tried to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Secret Service told members of the media covering a protest in Lafayette Square to leave White House grounds on Monday evening, as demonstrators attempted to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson.

Why it matters: It's an "incredibly unusual" move, noted CNN's Kaitlan Collins live on air. Reporters are typically redirected to the White House briefing room during such incidents, per CNN. A Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to Axios, "[I]n response to the increasingly violent demonstrations in Lafayette Park, four members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service to leave the White House grounds. The members of the press were rerouted to exits on the south side of the complex for their own safety."

Updated Jun 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

D.C. protesters attempt to topple Andrew Jackson statue

Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Protesters chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Andrew Jackson's got to go" as they tried to pull down a statue of the seventh U.S. president in Lafayette Park outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, video shows.

The big picture The demonstrators attached ties to the statue as they attempted to topple it before police used pepper spray to disperse protesters, per WUSA-TV and DCist.com. President Trump tweeted, "Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!"

Go deeper: Secret Service says it "misdirected" press to leave White House grounds

The inside story of Trump’s embarrassing endorsement

Trump listens during a roundtable at the White House June 15. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Madison Cawthorn, the 24-year-old who stunningly defeated the candidate President Trump endorsed in the Republican runoff for North Carolina's 11th congressional district, got a congratulatory call last night from the president himself — on Air Force One flying back from Arizona.

Why it matters: Lynda Bennett's defeat ruined Trump's near-perfect record of endorsing winners in GOP primaries — a record he prized and often boasted about.