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President slammed for clearing out St. John’s Church area with tear gas for photo opportunity

Arlington County police are being called out of Washington D.C. after officers assisted US Park officials in dispersing George Floyd protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area for President Trump’s photo opportunity at St. John’s Church.

Officers in ACPD helmets were seen aiding National Guardsmen and police clear the area around St. John’s Church and Lafayette Park on Monday evening ahead of the president’s visit to the church, that was burned in protests last night.

President Donald Trump has been slammed by the Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Mariann Budde, for using force to push out George Floyd protesters, before he walked across the street from the White House brandishing a Bible so he could have photos taken at the church.

Bishop Budde said: ‘I am outraged. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence.’

She appeared on CNN Monday evening bashing Trump’s photo op as an ‘abuse of a sacred symbol to justify an approach to this crisis that is antithetical to everything that we stand for.’

President Donald Trump is being slammed by church leaders for using tear gas and pepper spray to clear out protesters near St. John’s Church so he could visit the chapel for a photo opportunity on Monday evening where he carried a Bible in hand

The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Bishop Mariann Budde, slammed the president for using force 'to use the church as a prop'

The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Bishop Mariann Budde, slammed the president for using force ‘to use the church as a prop’

Trump visited the boarded up church, which caught fire during protests on Sunday evening, for photos on Monday evening alongside U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

Trump visited the boarded up church, which caught fire during protests on Sunday evening, for photos on Monday evening alongside U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

The president pictured walking in Lafayette Park to visit St. John's church from the White House on Monday evening

The president pictured walking in Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s church from the White House on Monday evening

The president spoke in a televised speech from the Rose Garden on Monday evening and tear gas canisters could be heard exploding in the background before he walked over to the church.

Budde was ‘outraged’ by the president’s aggression and said neither she nor the rector were told that authorities would be clearing protesters with tear gas, she said to the Washington Post.   

She added: ‘We so disassociate ourselves from the messages of this president. We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so so grounding to our lives and everything we do and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice’.  

‘I don’t want President Trump speaking for St. John’s,’ Budde said Monday evening after the president’s visit. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also bashed the president as ‘shameful’ for sending military force against protesters. 

The protesters in the area Monday evening appeared to be acting peacefully before they were forced out through the aggressive measures including rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas.

A U.S. Secret Service counter assault team member carries a sniper rifle through Lafayette Park as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a photo opportunity in front of St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House amid George Floyd protests

A U.S. Secret Service counter assault team member carries a sniper rifle through Lafayette Park as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House amid George Floyd protests 

Budde said the church would disassociate from the Trump administration

Budde said the church would disassociate from the Trump administration 

The historic church caught on fire Sunday evening amid police clashes with protesters. The cause of the fire is not known

The historic church caught on fire Sunday evening amid police clashes with protesters. The cause of the fire is not known

Orange flames pictured erupting from a part of the church Sunday night

Orange flames pictured erupting from a part of the church Sunday night

Meanwhile from the Rose Garden Trump said he’s an ally of peaceful demonstrators but warned, ‘I am your president of law and order.’

The president posed for photographers, holding a Bible as he stood in front of the boarded-up 200-year-old church, that has been visited by every president since James Madison. 

‘We have a great country. It won’t take long. It’s not going to take long to see what is going on. It’s coming back, and it’s coming back strong. It will be greater than ever before,’ Trump said as the clamor of protesters, helicopters and explosions are heard in the background.  

Budde blasted Trump while speaking on CNN after it was revealed that protesters near the church were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets before the president arrived

Budde blasted Trump while speaking on CNN after it was revealed that protesters near the church were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets before the president arrived

CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins tweeted Trump was angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to St. Johns.

CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins tweeted Trump was angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to St. Johns.

New York Andrew Cuomo slammed the president as 'shameful' for dispersing peaceful protesters for his own agenda

New York Andrew Cuomo slammed the president as ‘shameful’ for dispersing peaceful protesters for his own agenda

Trump pictured walking past a building defaced with graffiti by protesters in Lafayette Park on Monday after his photo opportunity at St. John's Church

Trump pictured walking past a building defaced with graffiti by protesters in Lafayette Park on Monday after his photo opportunity at St. John’s Church

The president pictured pumping his first as he walks through a line of riot police in Lafayette Park across from the White House as he waked to St. John's church on Monday

The president pictured pumping his first as he walks through a line of riot police in Lafayette Park across from the White House as he waked to St. John’s church on Monday

New York Andrew Cuomo slammed the president as ‘shameful’ for using military force to disperse peaceful protesters for his own agenda. 

‘The president is calling out the American military against American citizens. He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church. It’s all just a reality TV show for this president. Shameful,’ Cuomo tweeted Monday evening. 

CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins tweeted Trump was angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to St. Johns. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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