On Monday, Trump, 73, departed the White House — after briefly being taken to the Executive Mansion's underground bunker amid the protests on Friday — for St. John's Episcopal Church in downtown Washington, D.C., where he was photographed holding a Bible during a photo op.
Before Trump arrived at the church, police unleashed flash grenades and tear gas on the streets, despite the fact that the protesting had been peaceful.
Trump has said the military should respond with force to “riots and lawlessness” as nationwide demonstrations have sometimes descended into violent confrontations and looting.
Many criticized the president for the photo op, as well as the police's response to the peaceful protests, including Cooper, 52.
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"He's hiding in a bunker and he's embarrassed that people know that, so what does he have to do? He has to sick police on peaceful protestors so he could make a big show, the little big man, walking to a closed-down church," Cooper said Monday night on Anderson Cooper 360°.
"He always talks about the world laughing, that the world's laughing at the governors right now," he continued. "They're not laughing at the governors, they're standing in horror over what is happening. The only people that the world is laughing at is the president of the United States and this even — as I said, if it wasn't so dangerous and disgusting, it would be funny because it is so low rent and just sad."
"He's hiding in a bunker and he's embarrassed... so what does he have to do? He has to sick police on peaceful protesters so he can make a big show of being...the little big man."@AndersonCooper on reports Trump created his own photo-opp because he was angry with news coverage. pic.twitter.com/2ihNq69kCs— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 2, 2020
Cooper said that while he planned to be "calm and reasonable and straightforward" while covering the latest news, he admitted that he "just can't believe that this is what we have."
"This is the United States of America," Cooper said. "This is the president we have. They wanted a disruptor, well yeah, that's what a disruption is."
Cooper also took issue with Trump claiming to be in favor of peaceful protests, despite the police at times enacting violence during conflict-free demonstrations. Trump has seemingly also called for violence, writing, "the looting starts, the shooting starts" on Twitter last week and calling protestors "thugs."
"I'm mystified by all these people who say they are for peaceful protests," Cooper said. "I'm not sure what a peaceful protest is supposed to look like, given everyone that I've seen so far hasn't ended up so well for those who are being peaceful."
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Trump took a hard stance against the ongoing protests during a White House Rose Garden address on Monday evening, where he declared himself to be the "president of law and order."
He also threatened military action and claimed that he has instructed governors to "deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets."
"If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said.