The last time Jim Acosta tried his typical “gotcha” question games with Kayleigh McEnany, it didn’t go so well for him.
Nevertheless, CNN’s chief White House correspondent was at it again today during the daily press briefing, grilling McEnany with loaded questions about the Lafayette Park incident Monday where the Park Police confirmed that smoke canisters and pepper balls, not tear gas, were used on protesters who were allegedly throwing projectiles including bricks at officers who had told the crowd three different times to disperse as President Trump prepared to walk to burned St. John’s Episcopal church nearby.
My RedState colleague Nick Arama did a full write-up that cleared the air on the incident, which you can read here.
Here was the question Acosta asked in his customary three different ways:
If the White House could do it again, @Acosta asks, "would you have gassed and pummeled protesters to clear the park so the president could have a photo-op?"
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 3, 2020
Every time he asked it, McEnany fired back, first by setting the record straight that tear gas was not used on any of the protesters, and secondly that it was done in response to protesters allegedly throwing things at officers and law enforcement finding “caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street” shortly before 7pm, which was curfew time. Police officers, she noted, have a right to defend themselves and secure the area if they are under attack:
“First, I would note that these protests that were going on in the morning, A.G. Barr had determined that we needed to expand the perimeter by one block on each side. He was surprised, A.G. Barr, when he arrived at the White House to see that that perimeter had not been moved, so he said that we needed to get going with moving that perimeter,” she explained. “He told to the officers that out there, that was late afternoon, so that decision was made in the morning.”
“The protesters were told three times over loud speaker that they needed to move, and what happened is it grew increasingly unruly. There were projectiles being thrown at officers,” McEnany continued. “Frozen water bottles were being thrown at officers, and various other projectiles, and the officers had no other choice in that moment than to act and make sure that they were safe and that the perimeter was pushed back, because as we all know, a church was burning in that very area the night before. So the appropriate action was taken.”
"No tear gas was used, no rubber bullets were used…
The protesters were told three times over loudspeaker that they needed to move… It grew increasingly unruly…
When an officer is at risk, they have a right to defend themselves."
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 3, 2020
When Acosta continued to press on, McEnany whacked him by reminding him of the things that happen when police get caught off guard, such as the four officers who were shot in St. Louis during a recent riot, the Las Vegas officer who is now on life support after being shot in the head, and of other violent incidents involving rioters attacking police officers in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
Officers have the right to protect and defend themselves and secure the perimeter, she again noted, while also pointing out that they protect him and his right to come to the White House press briefing room to ask questions during briefings:
Outstanding job by @PressSec hitting back on Jim Acosta’s ridiculous questions about police officers defending themselves.
Too many innocent officers have been killed or injured by violent rioters and they have a right to defend themselves.
— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) June 3, 2020
If this keeps up, Jim Acosta might want to invest in a few gallons of burn ointment, because he’s going to need it.