WASHINGTON – A day after a much-criticized photograph op at a fire-damaged church close to the White Home, President Donald Trump took his anti-protester “legislation and order” message to a Catholic shrine, a go to that drew swift condemnation from a prime church official.
Trump and First Woman Melania Trump traveled throughout city Tuesday for a short go to to Saint John Paul II Nationwide Shrine adjoining to The Catholic College of America. The shrine is a spot of prayer for Catholics however welcomes folks of all faiths.
The Trumps posed for photographs in entrance of a statue of Saint Pope John Paul II exterior the shrine and stood silently for a couple of minutes, arms clasped in entrance of them. They didn’t make remarks.
Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory slammed the presidential go to in an announcement shortly earlier than the Trumps’ arrival.
“I discover it baffling that and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would permit itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a trend that violates our non secular ideas, which name us to defend the rights of all folks even these with whom we’d disagree,” Gregory stated in an announcement.
Trump is also scheduled to signal an govt order on worldwide non secular freedom on Tuesday.
Trump’s go to to the shrine comes simply sooner or later after he walked throughout Lafayette Park subsequent to the White Home and posed for cameras exterior St. John’s Episcopal Church, which suffered slight harm after it was set on fireplace by protesters late Sunday evening.
Violent protests have erupted in Washington and dozens of different cities throughout the nation following the dying of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died within the custody of police. Former police officer Derrick Chauvin has been charged with third-degree homicide and manslaughter in Floyd’s dying.
Critics hammered Trump as a result of police used tear gasoline and shields on protesters in Lafayette Park, primarily clearing a path for the president to stroll to the historic constructing often called the church of presidents. The present of power got here roughly half an hour earlier than a 7 p.m. curfew was to take impact in Washington.
“Tear-gassing peaceable protesters with out provocation simply in order that the President might pose for photographs exterior a church dishonors each worth that religion teaches us,” stated a joint assertion from Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, stated in a speech Tuesday in Philadelphia that the St. John’s occasion proves Trump is “extra desirous about serving the passions of his base.”
“When peaceable protesters are dispersed by the order of the president from the doorstep of the folks’s home, the White Home – utilizing tear gasoline and flash grenades – so as to stage a photograph op at a noble church, we might be forgiven for believing that the president is extra desirous about energy than in precept,” Biden stated.
Church officers protested that Trump didn’t name them about his plans to go to to St. John’s on Monday.
Mariann E. Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which incorporates St. John’s Episcopal Church, advised CNN she was outraged by way of tear gasoline to get folks out of the best way for a photograph op.
“The president simply used a Bible, probably the most sacred textual content of the Judeo-Christian custom, and one of many church buildings of my diocese, with out permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and all the things that our church buildings stand for,” she stated.
Bishop Gregory famous that Saint Pope John Paul II was “an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings” and “actually wouldn’t condone using tear gasoline and different deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photograph alternative in entrance of a spot of worship and peace.”
White Home officers stated Trump did need to pay his respects to St. John’s, which suffered a basement fireplace throughout protests Sunday.
The president additionally wished to go away the White Home grounds to show he was not “within the bunker“ due to the protesters, stated one official who requested anonymity to debate the president’s communications technique.
The president was significantly indignant when phrase received out that the Secret Service escorted him to the bunker of the White Home throughout protests simply past the gates of the manager mansion on Friday, the official stated.
After the St. John’s go to, the White Home put out an announcement saying protesters had been repeatedly warned to exit the park forward of the 7 p.m. curfew.
“The perimeter was expanded to assist implement the 7 p.m.curfew in the identical space the place rioters tried to burn down one in every of our nation’s most historic church buildings the evening earlier than,” spokesman Judd Deere. “Protesters got three warnings by the U.S. Park Police.”
In a morning tweet lower than two hours earlier than his go to to the shrine,Trump took credit score for crackdowns in Washington – and Minneapolis.
“D.C. had no issues final evening,” he stated. “Many arrests. Nice job finished by all. Overwhelming power. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was nice (thanks President Trump!).”
A pair hundred peaceable protesters gathered down the road from the nationwide shrine forward of Trump’s arrival, holding up indicators and chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter.” Police on the scene wore baseball caps and vests, however not riot gear.
As Trump’s motorcade arrived, some protesters shouted expletives, and others raised their center finger.
Kathy Warner, a 77-year-old retired trainer, stated she was there to honor Floyd’s reminiscence and to protest the president. She held an indication that learn “in solidarity – RIP George Floyd – Black Lives Matter.” Warner stated she hoped passing drivers would learn the message and “take into consideration the injustice finished to African People for hundreds of years.”
Warner stated she has a 49-year-old son and that her coronary heart “hurts for mothers whose sons can’t attain that age.”
She known as Trump’s go to to St. John’s on Monday “obscene” for the best way he “poses with the Bible.”
Some drivers honked in assist as they handed by and shook their fists out their automobile home windows.
The shrine to the late Pope John Paul II sits on the positioning of the previous John Paul II Cultural Middle, which the Knights of Columbus purchased in 2011. The lay Catholic group established it as a shrine to John Paul and added a everlasting museum exhibit about his life. Day by day lots are held on the shrine, which is a vacation spot for Catholic pilgrims.
The U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops declared it a nationwide shrine on March 14, 2014, after John Paul was canonized as a saint.
“It’s meant to be a spot of real encounter with God that results in a renewal of people, households, societies, and cultures,” reads the shrine’s official web site, including it’s a place the place God “heals and renews each dimension of human life.”
Contributing: William Cummings