Police Use Tear Gas to Clear Protesters So Trump Could Visit Nearby Church; Bishop "Outraged" Over Use of Church as a "Prop"

June 2, 2020
Trump photo shoot

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President Donald Trump spoke publicly for the first time Monday since the wave of protests erupted across the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the New York Times reports. Trump said the looting and violent demonstrations were "acts of domestic terror," and that he planned for police to "dominate the streets, promising an “overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.” He also threatened state governors to end the violence or he would send in the military, “to do the job for them.” He briefly mentioned that he was "sickened and revolted” by Floyd's death, but mostly tried to portray himself as the law and order president. Shortly after his speech ended, National Guardsmen began using tear gas and flash grenades on peaceful protesters to clear a path, so Trump could visit the nearby St. John’s Church, which was damaged Sunday night. Trump then stood in front of the church posing for photographers with a bible. The stunt was quickly criticized by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Calling out the American military for a photo opportunity. That’s what it was. I mean, it was shameful. It was really, truly shameful." The Washington Post reports that the Bishop in charge of the church, Rev. Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, was also angered by Trump's visit. “I am outraged,” she said. “I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to inflame violence.”