The Bishop of the Washington D.C. church where Donald Trump visited after police cleared protesters out with tear gas has spoken out about the situation. During an appearance on CNN, Episcopal Diocese Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde slammed Trump for holding a Bible, "the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition," as the "backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus," as well as "everything that our churches stand for."
Budde also took issue with Trump's photo-op because she says he used "one of the churches" in her "diocese without permission." The controversial photo that Trump took, of himself holding a bible aloft in front of the St. John's Episcopal Church, comes with an additional level of condemnation from Budde. She claims that Trump "sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard." For this, she states that she is "outraged." As part of her position, Budde oversees more than 80 Episcopal congregations, including St. John's, and she is the first woman to do so.
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
Trump's walk to St. John's Episcopal Church came after he addressed the press from the White House Rose Garden, asserting that he would bring "law and order" to the nation. As he was speaking, police were seen and heard firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, who they pushed out of Lafayette Park near the White House. As he spoke, Trump also referred to himself as an ally to the peaceful protesters.
The president's speech seemed to be a response to not just mass protests across the United States, but in Washington D.C., where protesters surrounded the White House on Sunday night. White House personnel eventually shut out all the lights on the national landmark, and Trump was moved to an underground bunker for safety. On Monday morning, he spoke with the governors about the mass protesting, and he criticized them for what he felt was a "weak" response. "You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time," he stated, adding, "They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks."