President Trump on Monday declared himself "a law-and-order president" and "ally of all peaceful protesters" as he delivered brief, forceful remarks in opposition to the ongoing demonstrations against police killings of black people, describing the unrest as "acts of domestic terrorism."
"These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror. The destruction of innocent life, and the spilling of innocent blood, is an offense to humanity, and a crime against God," Trump said in remarks that lasted less than seven minutes.
"Our country always wins. That is why I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence."
Trump said he had mobilized "thousands and thousands" of "heavily armed" military personnel to put an end to the protests that were born from criticisms of excessive force by law enforcement.
It wasn't immediately clear, however, what precise changes might be in store for the personnel that have been responding to the demonstrations across the country.
Threatening state governors who have declined to deploy the National Guard, Trump said he would deploy the U.S. military to "quickly resolve the problem for them."
The Rose Garden remarks came as just across the street, law enforcement officers deployed tear gas and shot rubber bullets at peaceful protesters.
Loud bangs could be heard from the garden, as mounted police forcefully dispersed protesters, apparently to clear the way for the president to walk to nearby St. John's Episcopal Church, where he posed briefly for photographers.
Trump and a retinue of advisers and staffers then returned to the secure enclave within the White House complex.
Nation in crisis
Protests, which have at times broken out into violence and looting, have continued from the weekend into Monday, following the video-recorded death of George Floyd — a black man who died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Several major cities, including Washington, D.C., were placed under curfews following the unrest. Trump's walk to the nearby church, which he does not typically visit, technically violated the District's curfew for Monday evening.
The National Guard has been deployed in many states. The president on Monday called for governors to "dominate" in their states to put an end to the protests.
This is a developing story and will be updated.