WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump’s promise to use the U.S. military to stop violent protests has gained widespread Republican support.
“This is a president who speaks very strongly and acts very directly,” Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly said.
Kelly applauded the president for Monday evening’s walk, Bible in hand, from the White House to nearby St. John’s Church. The administration has received criticism for forcefully removing protesters gathered in a park using tear gas and other force to accommodate his movements.
“By doing it by himself, I think he was pointing out that there are times — like President Lincoln said during the Civil War — that you are absolutely driven to your knees, looking for divine intervention,” Kelly said.
“Well, where is the outrage from my Republican colleagues?” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine asked.
Kaine says police and federal officers should not have used force against demonstrators so the president could take a walk for a photo opportunity.
“I just can’t really verbalize the effect of a president ordering federal officials to fire tear gas at peaceful protestors in Lafayette park,” Kaine said.
But Presidential Advisor Kellyanne Conway says the president has shown he’s a man of faith.
“I think it is very unfortunate that people of faith would call into question what is in anyone’s heart, including the presidents. What compels him to go over to St. John’s and hold up his Bible,” Conway said.
Kaine says he’ll ask the Senate Armed Services Committee to add a clause to the National Defense Authorization act next week, to prohibit the U.S. military from using force against American citizens.