Washington D.C.'s Bishop 'Outraged' Over Donald Trump Photo-Op at St John's Church

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop for Washington, D.C., is "outraged" after President Donald Trump stood in front of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church with a Bible in his hand after threatening to mobilize the military in American cities. Budde said no one from the administration gave her a courtesy call about his visit or that Trump would order federal police to use tear gas on peaceful protesters. The church's basement was damaged during protests of police brutality and George Floyd's death Sunday night.

"I'm outraged," Budde told The Washington Post Monday night. Budde said she was "not given even a courtesy call" and was not happy with the Administration "clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop." The bishop also denounced Trump for holding up a Bible that "declares that God is love" after discussing plans to mobilize the military against American citizens.

"Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence," Budde told the Post. "We need moral leadership, and he's done everything to divide us, and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition." No one associated with St. John's was at Trump's visit, and the president did not go inside the building.

Budde later explained that she did know Trump was coming at all until she saw him walking from the White House to the building on television. "No one knew this was coming," she said, adding that she did not want Trump "speaking" for the church. "We so dissociate ourselves from the messages of this president," Budde explained. "We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so, so grounding to our lives and everything we do, and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice."


During the speech, Trump announced he is "mobilizing all available federal resources 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" and the action will take effect immediately. He also "strongly recommended" to all 50 state governors that they should deploy the National Guard in "sufficient numbers." If local governments refuse to do so, Trump threatened to "take the actions that are necessary" to defend residents and would "deploy the United States military" to "quickly solve the problem."

Trump called the protests in Washington Sunday night "a total disgrace," so he dispatched "thousands and thousands" of military personnel and law enforcement officers to "stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property." At the end of the speech, Trump said he was going to "pay my respects to a very, very special place." He then walked from the White House to St. John's with members of the administration.