As protests continue across Ohio and the country, the state’s Republican U.S. Senator says President Trump could be doing more to help those demonstrations from spiraling into violence.
As criticism poured in for police use of gas and smoke to remove protestors from in front of a church so Trump could hold a Bible for photos, Sen. Rob Portman said that Trump has called George Floyd’s death unacceptable and that Trump has said he supports peaceful protest.
“He hasn't been consistent with that all the time. But he has said that. He has also said we should need to draw the line at the violence and the destruction of property and the other things we just talked about. I also said that I thought we needed a more calming tone and the words matter.”
And Portman said he's concerned about the clearing of the protestors from that park.
"No one should have cleared people who were peacefully protesting before a curfew when the curfew was in effect, which was later that same evening," Portman said. “I think the clearance took place at 6:30, 6:45, at 7:00. Then, of course, people need to be told it's time to go home. The mayor of D.C. had a curfew in place. You know, I abided by it. Other people abided by it. Everyone needed to abide by it. But it was not appropriate to clear that area before that.”
It was reported that Portman was asked for his response to the photo of Trump at the church, and that he only said he was “late to lunch”.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: “I’m late for lunch.”
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) June 2, 2020
Portman said reporters were shouting at him to comment as he was hurrying to an event to speak about legislation on national parks.