Trump Stands In Front of St. John’s Church Holding Bible Amid Protests
President walks out of White House to visit damaged church in historic moment
In an unprecedented moment on Monday, President Donald Trump walked out of the White House and across the street to visit the historic St. John's Church that was recently attacked and set ablaze by rioters.
The president stood in front of the 200-year-old building and held up a Bible, telling members of the press, “We have a great country, the greatest country in the world.”
The move came just minutes after President Trump gave a speech in the Rose Garden about George Floyd’s death and the resulting riots taking place across the country.
Mr. Floyd died while in police custody following a brutal arrest where an officer knelt on his neck for over five minutes while he was handcuffed and on the ground.
“I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters," Trump declared, before ordering governors across the nation to deploy the National Guard "in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets."
He then sent a warning to states that, if they refused, he would deploy the United States military “and quickly solve the problem for them.”
As an additional show of force, Trump announced he was deploying even more of the military to Washington, D.C.
"As we speak I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers," he said, as explosions rang out in the background.
“We are putting everybody on warning.”
Then, before departing, Trump announced he wasn't done for the evening and would be "going to pay my respects to a very very special place."
Moments later, Trump strolled out of the White House gates — something he had never done before — and walked across the park that had just been cleared to accommodate his movements.
Trump walked slowly, followed by an entourage of his most senior aides, security, and reporters.
I almost can’t believe what I’m seeing. POTUS just walked out the front door of the White House and into Lafayette Square - the epicenter of the DC protests - to visit historic St. John’s Church, which was set on fire last night. pic.twitter.com/XueoF2RC6z— Kristin Fisher (@KristinFisher) June 1, 2020
The faint residue of pepper spray hung in the air, stinging eyes and prompting coughing.
Sections of the park had been scrawled with graffiti and surrounding sidewalks were strewn with garbage, including plastic water bottles and other debris.
Trump crossed H Street and walked toward St. John’s Episcopal Church, the landmark pale yellow building where every president, including Trump, has prayed.
It had been damaged Sunday night in a protest fire.
Trump, standing alone in front of cameras, then raised a black-covered Bible for reporters to see.
“We have a great country,” Trump said. “Greatest country in the world.”
Trump said he would bring in the U.S. military to defend the country if the riots do not stop.
"We’re going to keep it nice and safe," he said.