Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is getting flak on social media for a tweet praising President Donald Trump leaving the White House on foot Monday during protests in the nation's capital.
"Hard to imagine any other @POTUS having the guts to walk out of the White House like this."
The tweet included a black-and-white photo of the president — accompanied by a sizable entourage, including Secret Service and several soldiers in uniform — walking from the White House across Lafayette Square to St. John's Episcopal Church, for a photo opportunity in front of the church. The historic church had been damaged by fire during protests Sunday night over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
As of mid-morning Tuesday, the tweet had more than 37,000 "likes" and had more than 56,000 comments. Among the latter were a slew of criticisms of Walker, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination against Trump in 2016, for conflating Trump's event with acts by his predecessors in more perilous situations. Many of those critics pointed out that Lafayette Square had been emptied of protesters by law enforcement officers using tear gas, rubber bullets and shields.
Several critics pointed out another Wisconsin connection for Walker: A president was shot here.
On Oct. 14, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, while campaigning in Milwaukee, was shot by a disgruntled New Yorker while heading to make a speech at what is now the Miller High Life Theatre. The former president, trying to get back into the White House running as the candidate for the Progressive Party, not only survived but went to the Auditorium to make the speech as scheduled; he was injured, but the bullet's impact was blunted by the copy of his speech and a metal glasses case in his pocket.
Much of the criticism aimed at Walker focused on past presidents facing conflicts on the battlefield, from George Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Even one of Walker's former front-line backers got in on the Walker bashing: Charlie Sykes, former Milwaukee conservative talk-radio host, and now the editor of The Bulwark, "a news network launched in 2018 dedicated to providing political analysis and reporting free from the constraints of partisan loyalties or tribal prejudices" — which spends a good deal of time taking on Trump and his allies.
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