As protests over the death of George Floyd entered their seventh night across the United States, President Donald Trump was photographed in front of a graffiti-covered wall emblazoned with the words "F– Trump" and "F– POTUS" as he made his way to St. John's Episcopal Church on Monday. The image was captured by Doug Mills, who photographed other moments from the controversial evening, during which the president announced his intent to deploy the U.S. military to quell the unrest sweeping the nation.
The image, showing the president on his march to the now controversial photo-op at the historic church, came just after police in Washington D.C. fired tear gas at what appeared to be peaceful protesters as he gave a speech at the White House Rose Garden Monday evening. During his speech, the president said that he was an "ally of all peaceful protesters" just before announcing that he was "mobilizing" federal resources, including civilian and military, to "stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson. And to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights."
Joined by his daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, Trump counselor Hope Hicks, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General Bill Barr, and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, Trump then made his way to St. John's Episcopal Church, known as the "church of presidents," which had been damaged by fires as protests raged over the weekend. Trump, and nobody else with him, entered the church, using the setting as a backdrop for an impromptu photo-op in which he held up a Bible. During the photo shoot, the president told reporters that the U.S. was the "greatest country in the world" and "we're going to keep it that way."
Trump’s Monday evening sparked outrage across the globe, with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser calling it "shameful" that police used tear gas to disperse protesters before the capital’s 7 p.m. curfew. Meanwhile, Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop for Washington, D.C., said she was “outraged” over the president's photo-op and was not happy with the administration "clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop."