US President Donald Trump this morning declared he will deploy the military to quell civil unrest across America, marking another escalation in tensions between peaceful protestors and state-sanctioned forces.

Moments later, he walked from the White House to a nearby church for a photo op. Police reportedly shot tear gas and fired rubber bullets at demonstrators to clear them out of the way.

After emerging from the White House bunker, Trump blamed “professional anarchists” and Antifa for the civil unrest, which was sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody.

Trump referenced a Dallas man who was attacked in the protests, potentially alluding to a white counter-protestor who was beaten after allegedly charging at a group of black demonstrators with a machete. 

After labelling the demonstrations instances of “domestic terrorism”, Trump said he will ramp up the federal response to the protests.

“I am mobilising all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans,” he said.

He said it was incumbent on state officials to deploy National Guard forces first to “dominate the streets”, before he orders the military to “quickly solve the problem for them” with “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers”.

If you’re thinking it’s all starting to sound a little bit like martial law, I can’t blame you. That feeling was only compounded when Trump stood in front of the nearby St. John’s Church with a Bible in his hands for a photo op. Footage from the bizarre scene features sirens blaring in the distance.

CNN reports that law enforcement authorities had used tear gas and rubber bullets prior to the photoshoot to clear peaceful demonstrators from the area.

What do you even say about that, really.

Image: Patrick Semansky / AP