Twitter rips Trump’s Bible photo-op in front of church after protest remarks

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, said the president was 'not a man of prayer'

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

It is unclear to most what President Donald Trump was trying to say when he turned tear gas on protesters outside of the White House, and then, with the assistance of the Secret Service walked across a park to St. John’s Church to hold a Bible in the air.

The gesture was another dramatic attempt to distract from the failures of his presidency and his feckless leadership. Twitter users immediately responded.

READ MORE: Trump declares he’s president of law, order amid protests

One poster compared it to The Triumph of the Will, a 1935 Nazi propaganda film. The theme of the film was to show Germany as a great power. It was also supposed to show the nation, Adolf Hitler, as their leader, would bring glory to the nation.

President Trump theGrio.com

U.S. President Donald Trump waves to journalists as he returns to the White House after posing for photographs in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church on June 01, 2020, in Washington, DC. Trump held up a bible while standing in front of the church, which was partially burned during violent protests the night before. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Spoiler alert: He didn’t.

Other comparisons to Hitler were shared including a split-screen of Trump holding the Bible in the air, juxtaposed to the Nazi leader doing the same, however, the image of Hitler holding a bible is actually photoshopped.

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Social media users seemed to be in consensus that the sacred text should not have been used as a prop. They also were confused by officials firing rubber bullets and tear gas on peaceful protesters for the president’s impromptu photo-op.

St. John’s Church had recently suffered a fire in the basement where a Sunday School daycare was previously housed. Yet he did not address meeting the needs of that sacred space. In fact, no one associated with the church knew that he was coming or understood why the visit was made.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, seemed perplexed when interviewed on MSNBC, “If he had come to offer words of solace, healing, and resolve … that would have been an appropriate use of the sacred symbol of walking across the park to the church. But, he did none of those things.”

On CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, when asked if “the president is a frequent visitor to St. John?” Bishop Budde answered swiftly.

“No. He is not a man of prayer on Sunday morning,” she revealed. “And he has not gone to worship at St. John or regularly at any of the churches in our diocese.”

“Let me be clear. He did not come to pray,” the bishop noted.

President Trump theGrio.com

Members of the Secret Service counter-assault team return to the White House after U.S. President Donald Trump posed for photographs in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church on June 01, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Bishop Budde serves as the spiritual leader for 88 Episcopal congregations and ten Episcopal schools in the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties and the first woman elected to this position. She also serves as the chair and president of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, overseeing the ministries of the Washington National Cathedral and Cathedral schools.

Earlier on Monday, Trump said, “I will fight to protect you. I am your President of law and order and an ally of peaceful protesters.”

Bishop Budde disputes that.

She says, “He did nothing to say to them [the protesters] that your future is before you and I will protect you and do all that we can to make this country worthy of you.”

“[He did not do] all the things that we need and deserve from anyone who is leadership, spiritual or political at this time.”

READ MORE: Trump slams governors as ‘weak,’ urges crackdown on protests

ABC News reporter Terry Moran took to Twitter to match the presidential Bible-thumping, with some actual scripture, quoting the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6.

Standing in front of St. John’s Church, Trump held the sacred text aloft in a moment that was so inflammatory that CNN called it “gaslighting.”

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