The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticized President Donald Trump on Monday for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters.
The Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese St. John’s belongs to, said in a statement that she was “outraged” by Trump’s visit and noted that he didn’t pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.
In order to facilitate Trump’s statement there, she said, she believed tear gas was used in the area between the White House and the church.
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, issued his own statement saying that Trump had “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.”
The bishop, who last year joined other Washington National Cathedral leaders in a statement that excoriated Trump’s “racialized rhetoric,” firmly aligned her faith with the goals of peaceful protesters driven by Floyd’s death to decry systemic racism.