The Espicopal bishop of Washington, D.C., was angered Monday after President Donald Trump stood in front of St. John's Episcopal Church for a photo op following his "law and order" speech in the White House Rose Garden, saying, "I just can't believe what my eyes have seen tonight."
Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde said neither she nor members of the church were consulted beforehand, and none of them took part in the photo op in which Trump held up a Bible as he stood oustid the front of the boarded-up church. It stands just across Lafayette Park from the White House's North Lawn, and was damaged when protesters set fire to it Sunday night.
Budde told CNN's Anderson Cooper that Trump abused sacred symbols, and said she was outraged her church was used for political gain. Peaceful protesters were cleared out of the area just before Trump's speech, and he ended it by saying he was going to visit a "very special place."
That ended up being St. John's.
"I am outraged," Budde told Cooper. "The president did not pray when he came to St John's nor . . . did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now — in particular, that of the people of color in our nation who wonder is anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred worth and who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.
"We distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this president."
In an interview with The Washington Post, Budde said, "I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop."
"Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence," she said. "We need moral leadership, and he's done everything to divide us, and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition."
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