D.C.’s mayor and the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington are among those voicing criticism of the president’s use of a church and a bible for a campaign photo-op that was preceded by law enforcement using tear gas to clear his way through crowds of protesters near the White House.
What We Know:
- Federal law enforcement cleared protesters out of the area with tear gas on Monday before Trump walked from the White House Rose Garden to St. John’s Church, where he just stood outside the house of worship posing for his own cameras while brandishing a closed bible.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized how Lafayette Square was cleared in a tweet Monday evening.
I imposed a curfew at 7pm. A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult. Shameful!
DC residents — Go home. Be safe
— Muriel Bowser (@MurielBowser) June 2, 2020
- Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said she was “outraged” that the president had attempted to use the church and a bible as props for his reelection campaign. Budde oversees more than 80 Episcopal congregations, including St. John’s. She is the first woman to serve in her position.
“Let me be clear: The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for. The president did not pray when he came to St. John’s, nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.” – Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde: "The President just used a Bible … and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything our churches stand for….I am outraged." pic.twitter.com/yegcO7xoJ0
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 2, 2020
- Budde was asked if she knew what Trump hoped to accomplish with Monday’s visit to St. John’s. “I cannot speak to his motives because he did not consult us, he did not warn us that he was coming across the street to the church,” she added.
- Budde expressed her support for the black community during the ongoing protests and said the church is praying for peace and justice.
- The church, which was damaged by a fire in the basement during protests on Sunday night, has been attended by every president since James Madison.
Protests have rocked the capital for days with regular demonstrations taking place outside the White House. While largely peaceful, there have been multiple clashes between police and demonstrators, and on Sunday night several fires broke out.