Law enforcement run towards protesters near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's trip to St. John's Church on June 1. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Secret Service on Saturday retracted its initial statement that no one in the agency used tear gas or pepper spray to forcibly clear peaceful protesters before President Trump's photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church last week.

The big picture: Backlash against the photo-op — and how it was made possible — was swift and widespread, with Republican senators, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ex-Secretary of Defense James Mattis denouncing the event.

The Secret Service's full statement:

"On June 5, the U.S. Secret Service released information stating that the agency had concluded that no agency personnel used tear gas or capsicum spray during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park on Monday, June 1, based on the records and information available at that time. Since that time, the agency has learned that one agency employee used capsicum spray (i.e., pepper spray) during that effort. Accordingly, the Secret Service is issuing the following correction to the record:
"After further review, the U.S. Secret Service has determined that an agency employee used pepper spray on June 1st, during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park. The employee utilized oleoresin capsicum spray, or pepper spray, in response to an assaultive individual."

Flashback: A U.S. Park Police spokesperson told Vox last week that it was a "mistake" to say that tear gas was not used to clear protesters from Lafayette Square.

Go deeper: Black Lives Matter sues Trump, Barr for forcibly clearing White House protesters

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."

6 mins ago - Health

In photos: America celebrates July 4 during global pandemic

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. has already celebrated Easter, graduations and so much more during the coronavirus pandemic, and now it can add July 4 to the list.

The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 11,137,846 — Total deaths: 526,156 — Total recoveries — 6,003,824Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 2,809,108 — Total deaths: 129,509 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.