LIVE: Cities Brace for More Violence as George Floyd Protests Continues Across the U.S.

President Donald Trump promised a forceful response to violent protests across the country and threatened to deploy the U.S. military if cities and states fail to contain unruly demonstrations touched off by the death of a black man in police custody.

During hastily arranged remarks Monday evening, Trump pledged to do everything he could to preserve order, including in Washington, where vandalism, looting and fires overshadowed three days of peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

“I am mobilizing all available federal resources civilian and military to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans,” Trump said from the Rose Garden at the White House.

Moments before the president spoke, as White House officials prepared for his remarks, security forces used tear gas and concussion grenades to clear peaceful protesters from streets around Lafayette Square across from the White House. After his brief address, he made an unnannounced visit on foot to the historic Saint John’s Episcopal Church less than a day after it was damaged by fire during demonstrations late Sunday night.

Trump has seized on protests against police brutality toward people of color to portray himself as an icon of law and order, eschewing the soothing role past presidents have adopted in similar moments as he seeks to turn the election-year conversation from his widely panned handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

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