WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and religious leaders — including the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington — voiced outrage after police used tear gas against peaceful protesters outside the White House before President Donald Trump’s photo-op at nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday evening.
The Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Washington diocese, said Tuesday that Trump held up the Bible in front of St. John’s “as if it were a prop or an extension of his military and authoritarian position.”
Budde, in an interview with Craig Melvin on NBC’s “TODAY” show, said that what Trump did in front of the church she oversees “was an abuse of the spiritual tools and symbols of our traditions and of our sacred space.”
“He didn’t come to church to pray, he didn’t come to church to offer condolences to those who are grieving,” she said. “He didn’t come to commit to healing our nation, all the things that we would expect and long for from the highest leader in the land.”