Priests reveal they were teargassed by cops clearing a path to St. John’s Church for Donald Trump to have his photo taken as cops who fired the gas are pulled out for being misused and Bishop slams the president
- On Monday President Donald Trump cleared out the area in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House so he could visit
- National Guardsmen and police used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful protesters in front of the White House
- Following the use of force, Arlington County Police said they would remove their officers in the area who aided in the clash with protesters
- The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Bishop Mariann Budde, slammed the president for using force ‘to use the church as a prop’
- Politicians Joe Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Val Demings have slammed the president for using military force against protesters
- Rector Gini Gerbasi and priest Glenna Huber say they were a part of the crowd that was attacked by police to make room for Trump
Priests have revealed they were part of a peaceful crowd teargassed by cops who were clearing a path for President Donald Trump so he could take photos in front of St. John’s Church in Washington DC.
On Monday Trump left the White House and walked across the street to the historic church, which was partially burned in protests the night prior, to pose for photos with a Bible in hand.
Trump was allegedly angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests, and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to St. Johns, according to CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins.
But his photo shoot triggered outrage from church leaders and rival politicians, and led Arlington County police to pull their officers out of the capital after they were used to charge at protesters.
Gini Gerbasi, a rector at St. John’s Church, revealed in a shaken Facebook post that she and other Black Lives Matter organizers were passing out water and help to protesters alongside fellow clergy and laypeople, when police flooded the area, pushing protesters, deploying tear gas, and unleashing rubber bullets.
‘That man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second,’ Gerbasi said.
President Donald Trump is being slammed by church leaders and politicians for using tear gas and pepper spray to clear out protesters near St. John’s Church so he could visit the chapel for a photo opportunity on Monday evening where he carried a Bible in hand
Rector Gini Gerbasi (left) and priest Glenna Huber (right) say they were apart of the crowd of peaceful George Floyd protesters that were teargassed and hit with rubber bullets by police clearing a path for President Donald Trump to take photos in front of St. John’s Church
Priest Glenna Hubber shared this post showing how volunteers were passing out water bottles when the police came
Glenna Huber, a priest and rector with The Church of the Epiphany said she was out helping volunteers when the police violently pushed them out for Trump’s photo opportunity
The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Bishop Mariann Budde, slammed the president for using force ‘to use the church as a prop’
‘Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken…Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protesters off of H Street…They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels,’ she said.
She said she was appalled when she learned the clash with protesters was to clear the area for Trump.
Gerbasi shared this shaken post on Facebook describing how the police violently pushed peaceful protesters out of St. John’s Church
‘I literally COULD NOT believe it. We were driven off the patio at St. John’s – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – so that man could have a photo opportunity in front of the church. People were hurt so he could pose in front of the church with a Bible,’ she said.
Glenna Huber, a priest and rector with The Church of the Epiphany was also at the church aiding protesters when the police came and forced the crowd out.
‘I’m horrified. Just moments before we were handing out snacks and water. There was some men singing on the steps. People were chanting and peacefully assembling. I left as the National Guard arrived. They sprayed tear gas. I was gone before the rubber bullets. And then the President spoke,’ Hubber posted on Facebook.
Following the incident, Arlington County officials called their police out of Washington DC after their officers, armed in ACPD helmets and riot gear, assisted US Park officials in dispersing protesters near the church.
Arlington officials said they sent officers on Sunday following a mutual aid request from Park Police, but they did not know officers would be used to clash with protesters and have ordered their police back home.
‘Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op. We ordered @ArlingtonVaPD to immediately leave DC,’ County Board Chair Libby Garvey tweeted Monday night, about two hours after Trump’s photo session.
‘At the direction of the County Board, County Manager and Police Chief, ACPD officers have left the District. We are evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position, which devalued the purpose of these mutual aid obligations,’ County Board member Katie Cristol said.
Arlington County police are now being called out of Washington D.C. after officers assisted US Park officials in dispersing George Floyd protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets for Trump’s photo op. Officers with ACPD helmets pictured clashing with protesters above
Officers with the Arlington County Police Department pictured pushing back demonstrators outside of the White House above
‘Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op. We ordered @ArlingtonVaPD to immediately leave DC,’ Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey tweeted Monday night, about two hours after Trump’s photo session
The president spoke in a televised speech from the Rose Garden on Monday evening and tear gas canisters could be heard exploding in the background before he walked over to the church and posed holding a Bible.
Trump claimed he’s an ally of peaceful demonstrators but warned, ‘I am your president of law and order.’
After his speech he walked to the church for his photo shoot.
The protesters in the area Monday evening appeared to be acting peacefully before they were forced out through the aggressive measures including rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas.
The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Mariann Budde, slammed Trump for using force to push out George Floyd protesters and for posing in front of the embattled church.
Bishop Budde said: ‘I am outraged. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence.’
Budde said neither she nor the rector were told that authorities would be clearing protesters with tear gas, she said to the Washington Post.
She added: ‘We so disassociate ourselves from the messages of this president. We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so so grounding to our lives and everything we do and it is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice’.
She appeared on CNN Monday evening bashing Trump’s photo op as an ‘abuse of a sacred symbol to justify an approach to this crisis that is antithetical to everything that we stand for.’
The president posed for photographers, holding a Bible as he stood in front of the boarded-up 200-year-old church, that has been visited by every president since James Madison.
‘We have a great country. It won’t take long. It’s not going to take long to see what is going on. It’s coming back, and it’s coming back strong. It will be greater than ever before,’ Trump said as the clamor of protesters, helicopters and explosions are heard in the background.
Budde blasted Trump on MSNBC after it was revealed that protesters near the church were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets before the president arrived
Budde said the church would disassociate from the Trump administration
The historic church caught on fire Sunday evening amid police clashes with protesters. The cause of the fire is not known
Orange flames pictured erupting from a part of the church Sunday night
Presidential candidate Joe Biden also condemned Trump’s use of military action against protesters.
‘He’s using the American military against the American people. He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo. For our children, for the very soul of our country, we must defeat him. But I mean it when I say this: we can only do it together,’ Biden tweeted Monday evening.
Florida Rep. Val Demings tweeted: ‘When we impeached this president, we warned that he was a dictator in waiting. I believe now what I believed then: this president is a threat to our democracy, our families, and to us.’
New York Andrew Cuomo slammed the president as ‘shameful’ for dispersing peaceful protesters for his own agenda
CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins tweeted Trump was angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to St. Johns.
Trump pictured walking past a building defaced with graffiti by protesters in Lafayette Park on Monday after his photo opportunity at St. John’s Church
The president pictured pumping his first as he walks through a line of riot police in Lafayette Park across from the White House as he waked to St. John’s church on Monday
New York Andrew Cuomo slammed the president as ‘shameful’ for using military force to disperse peaceful protesters for his own agenda.
‘The president is calling out the American military against American citizens. He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church. It’s all just a reality TV show for this president. Shameful,’ Cuomo tweeted Monday evening.
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