Protesters defy curfews, overnight demonstrations largely calm

By Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver

Legions of protesters around the country defied curfews on Tuesday while challenging President Trump’s instructions to U.S. military and other police officials to disperse demonstrators and to restore order.

Fist-waving crowds who shouted George Floyd’s name and his final words, “I can’t breathe,” shared one message: We will be heard. The reaction from inside the White House, the Pentagon and from police in many cities: Go home or face arrest.

The Associated Press: The nation’s streets were the calmest in days, protests largely peaceful.

Elected leaders searched for ways to respond to the masses of people gathered in city after city who again protested Floyd’s death more than a week ago. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) mulled what more Congress could do to end racial bias and excessive force in policing and to encourage the president to unify a nation in pain. Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, the only black Republican in the House, joined thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Houston and put his video message on Twitter. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), accompanied by her dog and her husband, mingled with the crowd on Tuesday evening near the White House (The Hill).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined many of  his GOP colleagues in saying it is too soon to consider federal legislation to mandate changes to policing techniques. State governments would be better equipped to enact changes on that front, Republicans suggest (The Hill).

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he was outraged by what he called the failure on Monday night of New York City police officers and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to halt and arrest hundreds of people who shattered windows and looted Fifth Avenue stores. Tuesday night in New York City was more peaceful.

Former President George W. Bush, now living in Dallas and moved by the events dominating the news coverage, issued a rare statement since leaving the White House, saying it is “time for us to listen.”

“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country,” he said (The Washington Post).

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Nation nears a breaking point.

Trump described himself on Monday as the law and order president, determined to use the military to force protesters into retreat outside the White House and in cities and towns around the country. The president’s approach, which cheers his base of supporters, has not been embraced by Democratic governors. This morning, Trump tweeted that Texas, with a Republican governor, “is in great shape.” He was responding to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) quote that he would not be inviting the U.S. military into the Lone Star State.

The Hill: Trump stokes backlash with threat to use the military against protesters.

NBC News: Minnesota’s government files a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department. Gov. Tim Walz (D) says the probe stemming from Floyd’s death is intended to root out “systemic racism that is generations deep.”

The Washington Post: Attorney General William Barr personally ordered law enforcement to clear protesters from Lafayette Square on Monday before Trump’s walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church. “Get it done,” Barr ordered law enforcement officials on the ground following plans that concluded late on Sunday or early Monday, according to a Justice Department official.

The administration’s approach to Floyd’s death and the protests that followed sparked new interest in the president’s powers to deploy U.S. troops onto the streets of America. He would need to invoke the Insurrection Act. Here are five things to know about the power Trump could wield (The Hill).

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