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Tipsheet

Pelosi and Schumer Pen Letter to President Trump Demanding Lafayette Square Be Open to Public

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Democratic leadership in both chambers of Congress penned a letter to President Trump asking that Lafayette Square, a public park in close proximity to the White House, be reopened amidst protests and riots. Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claim that President Trump is impeding on the First Amendment rights of protesters. The pair of Democratic leaders point to the expansion of the security perimeter within the White House in the 1990s, and tell the president that Lafayette Square should be revered as a symbol of "freedom" and "openness:"

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“We call on you to immediately reopen Lafayette Square to the public, a place which has long been a venue where Americans can gather to freely exercise their constitutional rights in close proximity to the White House. ..You [President Trump] have now erected heavy, semi-permanent steel fencing to wall off the Square. Your conversion of this unique public park in the heart of our Nation’s capital to what looks like a militarized zone denies citizens access to the park and sends the worst possible message to the American public and people around the world,” Pelosi and Schumer write. “Lafayette Square should be a symbol of freedom and openness, not a place behind which the leader of our Executive Branch cowers in fear of protesters who are crying out for justice.”

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Seeking a return to law and order, and on account of violent protests directed at the White House, the administration tapered off access to Lafayette Square. 

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