Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will rebuke President Donald Trump for wrongly using military personnel to disperse protesters so he could “stage a photo op at a noble church” during a speech in Philadelphia today.
“When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House— using tear gas and flash grenades— in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” Biden will say, according to prepared remarks. “More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care. For that’s what the presidency is – a duty of care—to all of us, not just our voters, not just our donors, but all of us.”
The president was criticized for ordering military personnel to clear the streets near the White House so he could walk across the street and pose for a photo holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Church. Military police fired tear gas into the crowd of peaceful demonstrators without warning.
This was the scene outside of the White House on Monday as police used tear gas and flash grenades to clear out peaceful protesters so President Trump could visit the nearby St. John’s Church, where there was a parish house basement fire Sunday night https://t.co/nFrCqYpqZR pic.twitter.com/DVP11iiVIh
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 2, 2020
DC Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde condemned the move.
“Let me be clear: The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for,” Budde told CNN. “And to do so… he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard. I am outraged.”