Donald Trump made a remarkable move to preserve his credibility on Monday by leaving the White House and walking across the street to a nearby church.
The president made the 3-minute walk to the St John’s Episcopal church just minutes after he had given a speech in the Rose Garden when he had threatened to deploy the military to quell the protests that have engulfed his nation in the past week.
Trump's photo op was made possible by the police using tear gas to deter protestors including the members of the church.
The Episcopal bishop of Washington, the Right Rev Mariann Budde has spoken out in disgust at Trump's stunt. Speaking to Anderson Cooper on CNN she said:
I am outraged. The President did not pray when he came to St. John's, nor as you just articulated, did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now.And in particular, that of the people of colour in our nation, who wonder if anyone ever -- anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred words. And who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.And I just want the world to know, that we in the diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love ... we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this President. We follow someone who lived a life of nonviolence and sacrificial love.We align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others. And I just can't believe what my eyes have seen.
While speaking outside of the building and holding a bible, Trump said:
We have the greatest country in the world.
However, what he didn't say was actually why he decided to venture outside of the White House, an unprecedented move for a president and have his photo taken in front of a church something that Trump Jr claimed is what 'leadership looks like.'
Well, sources close to CNN have reported that Trump pulled this little spectacle not as a show of "great leadership" but because he was upset about people mocking him for being rushed into a bunker at the weekend as riots erupted outside of the White House.
Kaitlan Collins who was reporting on the roof opposite the church told Anderson Cooper:
Sources are telling my colleague, Kevin Liptak that part of the reason the president made this trip outside of the gates of the White House, a really rare trip where you do not often see the president walk out the front door of the White House, was driven in part that he was upset by the coverage of the fact that he had been rushed to the underground bunker on Friday night.
In response Cooper said:
Oh my God! Wow! We are in trouble. He was taken to a bunker and was hiding there and he is embarrassed that people know that. So what does he have to do? Sic police on peaceful protestors so he can make a big show of being the 'little big man' and walk to a closed down church. He always says 'the world is laughing,' that the world is laughing at the governors. They are not laughing at the governors. They are standing in horror at what is happening. The only person people are laughing at is the president of the United States.
Still, nothing like showing the haters by *check notes* tear gassing protesters and priests just so you can walk 3 minutes across the street and hold a picture above your head.