After threatening to use the U.S. military in American cities to put down unrest over the death of George Floyd, President Trump posed for cameras holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church – a moment that left the Right Rev. Mariann Budde “outraged.”
Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington D.C., spoke with CNN shortly after the photo-op, saying, “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.”
President Trump had just addressed the nation, calling himself “your president of law and order” and vowing to “dominate the streets.”
Video showed officers in protective gear forcibly removing a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators from the area between the White House and the church.
“(Trump) sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard,” Budde said. “I am outraged. The president did not pray when he came to St. John’s, nor … did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now.”
Trump, flanked by members of his administration, held the Bible before cameras as he posed in front of the boarded-up church across from the White House.
Budde said Trump failed in particular to address the suffering of “the people of color in our nation, who wonder if anyone ever – anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred words – and who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and supremacy in our country.”