Early Monday evening, President Donald Trump stood before the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Washington and held aloft a Bible for cameras.
The photo opportunity had an eerie quality: Trump said relatively little, positioned stoically in front of the boarded-up church, which had been damaged the day before in a fire during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
The church appeared to be completely abandoned.
It was, in fact, abandoned, but not by choice: Less than an hour before Trump’s arrival, armored police used tear gas to clear hundreds of peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square park, which is across the street from the church.
Authorities also expelled at least one Episcopal priest and a seminarian from the church’s patio.
“They turned holy ground into a battleground,” said the Rev. Gini Gerbasi. [Continue reading…]