Police use tear gas, push back peaceful protesters for Trump church visit

President Trump vows to send U.S. troops onto the streets of American cities if local officials cannot control the violent protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
4:38 | 06/02/20

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Transcript for Police use tear gas, push back peaceful protesters for Trump church visit
We begin at the white house where president trump spoke out for the first time from the rose garden vowing to send U.S. Troops into the streets of American cities if local authorities don't control the those remarks came just moments after the administration asked police to clear peaceful protesters from the park across the white house so the president could stage a photo-op. Cecilia Vega starts us off from the site, St. John's episcopal church, good morning, Cecilia. Reporter: Yeah, George, good morning to you. This was as you said that backdrop for that photo-op and now in the face of all of this controversy, the white house is saying that those authorities moved in on those peaceful protesters in order to enforce Washington, D.C. 7:00 P.M. Let me tell you what the reality was. The secret service police moved in on peaceful protesters a full 25 minutes before that curfew was supposed to even start and they cleared the way and then president trump showed up right here for that photo cop. Outside the white house -- -- Protesters facing off against authorities kneeling and raising their hands in peaceful demonstration but then almost suddenly they started sitting and hitting this Australian news Whoa. Reporter: As police move in, they fire tear gas on the crowd while inside the grounds of the white house, a remarkable split screen, the president claiming to be an ally of peaceful protesters. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters. Reporter: President trump called on governors to deemploy the National Guard threatening to dispatch active duty U.S. Military to American states if they don't crack down. But to do that, he would have to invoke the insurrection act of 1807, a rarely used law that hasn't been enacted since the Rodney king riots in the 1990s. If a city or state refuses to take the action that is are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the united States military and quickly involve the problem for them. Reporter: In Washington, D.C. Where the president has jurisdiction president trump acting with force. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the right yachting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property. Reporter: And then in a made for reality TV prime time moment, the president and his entourage left the white house and walked through that park where protesters had been cleared moments earlier. He went to historic St. John's episcopal church which had been burned in a fire during protests a night earlier. There the president held up a bible for the cameras. Is that your bible? Reporter: Standing in various poses for a full minute and a half and summoned his top aides to join him in the photo-op. Okay, thank you very much. We have the greatest country in the world. Thank you very much, everybody. Reporter: In Delaware presumptive nominee Joe Biden paid a different visit to a place of worship meeting with community leaders at bethel ame church in Wilmington. Don't go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen it comes out through it. Reporter: It followed a remarkable conference call earlier in the day where the president berated governors of both parties. They're going to run over you. You're gonna look like a bunch of jokes. You have to arrest people and you have to try people. Reporter: On the call J.B. Pritzker criticizing president trump's rhetoric. I've been extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that's been used by you. People are feeling real pain out there and we've got to have national leadership in calling for calm and making it clear that we're addressing the concerns of the legitimate peaceful protesters. That will help us to bring Reporter: This church carries significant history in the stir, in this country. Every sitting president since James Madison including president trump has attended a church service here but we are now being told by sources that the president was in part motivated to come here, George, for that photo-op to counter reports that he had been in the white house bunker during the protests here on Friday. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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