WASHINGTON D.C. — It began with Attorney General Bill Barr standing with his hands casually in his pockets, surveying the scene at Lafayette Park across from the White House, where several thousand protesters had gathered for another night of demonstrations after the police killing of George Floyd.
Then officers advanced aggressively, firing tear gas and deploying flash bangs into the crowd to disperse them from the park.
It was a jarring scene before President Donald Trump delivered remarks and then made a surprise visit to St. John’s Church, which had been damaged by protesters Sunday night.
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is sharply criticizing President Donald Trump for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House. During Trump's visit Monday night, he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared out peaceful protesters.
The diocese of the Rev. Mariann Budde includes St. John’s, and Budde said she was “outraged" by the moment and noted that Trump didn’t pray during his visit. Budde said the church was "completely caught off-guard” by the visit, with no sense that this it's a sacred space to be used for sacred purposes.