In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.
As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."
The columnist relates Trump's day on Saturday after he returned from Florida where he watched the SpaceX launch, only to return to a Washington D.C. that is under siege -- necessitating calling out the National Guard.
"When Marine One deposited Trump on the South Lawn last night after his day trip to Florida, the president walked towards the entrance of the White House amid a cacophony of car horns and chanting protesters who flung themselves against barricades in an hours-long clash with police. Trump hasn’t seen demonstrations of this kind since he assumed office in January 2017," Nicholas reported. "Protesters breached an outer checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue at one point yesterday afternoon. All day long, cars streamed toward the White House, with passengers leaning out the windows and chanting, 'Black lives matter!' As one car passed a White House gate at 15th and E Streets, a group of men shouted at the guards: 'F*ck you." On sidewalks littered with soiled masks and empty water bottles, demonstrators pumped their fists in solidarity and demanded respect for African Americans—a community whom Trump says he 'loves.'"
"Beyond the coronavirus and the protests, crisis layered upon crisis, the White House has come to resemble a fortress. I walked onto the grounds yesterday after officials checked my temperature at a security gate and inquired about any symptoms: Had I lost my sense of smell or taste? I made my way toward the briefing room, past a long line of heavily armed police officers preparing to take up positions," he noted. "Around 6 p.m., the North Lawn was freshly mowed, the campus quiet. Yet the mood was tense, with police checking their weapons and scanning the crowd growing outside the gates. As I prepared to leave, an agent asked me to wait: Protesters were marching south on 17th Street, and the Secret Service wanted them to pass first. 'Are you sure you want to go out there?' another agent asked me as I exited the compound."
Noting that the president had started the day boasting about security measures at the White House that include "vicious dogs and ominous weapons," Nicholas said those are not the boasts of a man secure in his position.
"Presidents don’t normally feel compelled to boast about their protection. Trump wrote in a tweet that Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser wouldn’t let the city’s police force assist during protests Friday. (That’s not the case; Secret Service said that city police officers were indeed on the scene.) In a tweet of her own, Bowser called Trump 'a scared man. Afraid/alone,'' she wrote.
Nicholas noted that Trump was still boasting about protection from protesters late Saturday night.
"Last night, videos of two NYPD cruisers accelerating into a crowd of Brooklyn protesters exploded across social media. Trump saw fit to say something about police tactics: 'Let New York’s Finest be New York’s Finest,' he tweeted. 'There is nobody better, but they must be allowed to do their job!'" the columnist pointed out.
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