MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said President Donald Trump "started a riot" in Lafayette Square -- and bashed Republicans for trying to cover it up.
The "Morning Joe" host criticized the White House for ordering U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops to disperse peaceful protesters so the president could pose for photos while holding a Bible outside St. John's Episcopal Church.
"You used tear gas, you used tear gas, you used pepper spray, you used rubber bullets to clash with peaceful protesters," Scarborough said. "We've got the tape. It's all on tape, Marco Rubio. It's all on tape, Republicans, it's all on tape. We saw it happening in real time, stop lying. Your lies have already been revealed."
"So you actually have peaceful protesters who were there who had tear gas used against them, brute force used against them, rubber bullets used against them," he added. "I'm so ashamed that an Australian cameraman and reporter were brutalized in the park, the President's Park, hit, I'll show you, by the way, one of our closest and oldest allies, a country that has had their troops along our troops in foxholes for over a hundred years, they have fought with us in every war, and yet members of the press being targeted constantly, constantly. Peaceful protests being broken up and the president thinking he's proving a point."
Trump's secretary of defense, Mike Esper, claims he thought the president was taking him to inspect a bathroom damaged by vandals during the protests, and Scarborough called on his predecessor to speak up.
"Hey, James Mattis, you want to wake up from your slumber and start offending somebody, because you're pissing off a lot of people, James Mattis," Scarborough said. "Your silence is pissing off a lot of people. We have a secretary of defense who actually said he thought that the president were going to inspect troops and they were going to inspect a bathroom. Now, that is Secretary Esper's worst excuse since he said his dog ate his Constitution. It's despicable if he were misled by that, by the president of the United States, then he should resign. Secretary Esper, you should resign this morning if you were used as a political prop."
Only one in three Americans support the president's handling of nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd, and Scarborough said there was no low to which Trump won't stoop.
"There is no low point," he said. "We think that what we saw yesterday, the day before was the low point. There is no low point, and that is why, that is why, Republicans, as you blindly go -- now, some criticized Donald Trump. A few did, God bless them, because they need to do that, not only for the country, not only in defense of the Constitution, but for their own sake, for the sake of their constituents, for their place in history so they won't be seen as going along this extraordinarily frightening display of raw power and just sheer stupidity."