President Donald Trump is getting called out on social media after posing in front of a church with a Bible ― a photo-op possible only after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters to clear the area.
Trump then walked through a phalanx of police and Secret Service officers to reach St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was vandalized during the civil unrest over the weekend sparked by the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bishop Mariann Budde, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which owns the church, expressed “outrage” at the president’s appearance there and vowed to disassociate the church from his actions.
She was hardly alone.
On Twitter, critics from across the political spectrum quickly tore into the president for his use of a Bible as a “prop” for his photo-op:
Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything. pic.twitter.com/RZwPeqrwoZ— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 2, 2020
He holds that Bible like it’s burning him.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
#BunkerBoy Trump had to prove he could walk in broad daylight today so he sicced the police on peaceful protesters so he could stand there and awkwardly hold the Bible. Dear God. We need to end this nightmare of a presidency. https://t.co/umEY90OTcy— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 2, 2020
This is how much Trump cares about the church he visited. They didn't know he was coming, and he didn't talk to them before he left. This was propaganda through and through. https://t.co/Fcu4qKS70n— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 2, 2020
Actual religious leaders should be incensed that he instigated violence to use the bible as a prop. His phony phalanx of evangelical enablers...