Pelosi Bashes Trump Over Riots While Holding Bible & Quoting Obama
Democratic House speaker uses rioting to attack president
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has leveraged the nationwide riots to attack President Donald Trump during a bizarre political stunt.
Speaker Pelosi opted to read from the Bible on Tuesday during a news conference while quoting former presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush.
The move was in response to President Trump walking to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday - after it was damaged during Sunday night’s protests - while holding up a Bible.
Wielding a Bible of her own at a Capitol Hill presser, Pelosi called on Trump to be a “healer in chief” as violence and looting continued in cities across America following the death of George Floyd.
The San Francisco Democrat was speaking one day after the president had held up a Bible while defending religious freedom outside the historic 200-year-old church across from the White House.
Pelosi read quotes from the book of Ecclesiastes and referenced comments from Bush and Obama, as they reacted to incidents similar to the death of Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Trump on Monday, in a show of solemnity, walked through Lafayette Square to pay respects to the historic church.
The building was set on fire Sunday as a state of sheer mayhem descended upon D.C.’s streets:
We have the greatest country in the world—and we will keep America safe. pic.twitter.com/lqHaUZ4wxW— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 1, 2020
WATCH: President Trump walks across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church. Holding a Bible he says, "We have a great country. That's my thoughts." pic.twitter.com/A3HS8hR32p— CSPAN (@cspan) June 1, 2020
The speaker read the Bush and Obama quotes from notes placed inside the Bible, as if the past leaders’ words, too, were from the Good Book.
"There’s an appointed time for everything,” Pelosi began, referring to Ecclesiastes.
"’A time for every event under heaven. … A time to heal, a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing’ – how about that?” she said.
"Let’s focus on a time to heal," Pelosi continued, adding that U.S. presidents have "a responsibility to heal."
"We would hope that the president of the United States would follow the lead of so many presidents before him to be a healer in chief and not a fanner of the flame.”
NEW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a president of the United States “has the responsibility to heal,” quoting former President. George H. W. Bush following the Rodney King riots and Former President Barack Obama’s following the killing of Eric Garner. https://t.co/D1iplmL5tz pic.twitter.com/2nXvZsW9hG— ABC News (@ABC) June 2, 2020
Pelosi, still holding the Bible with notes papers inside it, then read a statement Bush made following the video showing the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991.
"Those terrible scenes stir us all to demand an end to gratuitous violence and brutality,” Pelosi quoted Bush as saying.
"Law-enforcement officials cannot place themselves above the law that they are sworn to defend.
"It was sickening to see the beating that was rendered and there's no way, no way in my view, to explain that away. It was outrageous."
She then quoted Obama, from a statement he made in 2014, following the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in New York City in 2014.
“Right now, unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances where people just do not have confidence that folks are being treated fairly,” Pelosi read, quoting the former president.
“And in some cases, those may be misperceptions; but in some cases, that’s a reality.
“And it is incumbent upon all of us, as Americans, regardless of race, region, faith, that we recognize this is an American problem, and not just a black problem or a brown problem or a Native American problem,” the quote continued.
“This is an American problem. When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem.”
Pelosi later criticized the use of U.S. military police to clear out protesters so Trump and his entourage from the White House could safely walk to St. John’s Church from the White House.
“Some people came out and beat them so they could clear the area so the president could come out and go forward,” Pelosi said.
“What is that? That has no place and it’s time for us to do away with that.”
Other Democrats and celebrities also criticized Trump’s Monday gesture outside St. John’s, with many dismissing it as a “photo op” rather than a defense of religious freedom.
On Tuesday, the president doubled down on his commitment to religious freedom with an executive order that a senior administration official told Fox News was meant to protect “people of faith around the world.”
“This executive order fully integrates the president’s vision – a vigorous defense of international religious freedom rights for all – into key aspects of United States foreign policy,” White House aide Kellyanne Conway said.
“Yet again, President Trump is taking a decisive action to keep his promise to people of faith around the world.”
In addition, President Trump – this time accompanied by first lady Melania Trump – visited the National Shrine in Washington, a Roman Catholic house of worship.