President Trump’s visit to the historical St. John Episcopal Church Monday evening was met with criticism by many, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, President Trump visited the church after condemning the violent riots and looting across the U.S. in a speech at the White House’s Rose Garden.
Trump’s visit to St. John’s was harshly criticized because officials were reported to have used tear gas and flash grenades on nearby protestors in order to clear the area for the President to walk to the church.
At the Capitol Building Tuesday morning, holding a Bible in her own hands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Trump’s visit to the historic church, The Hill reports.
"Peaceful demonstrators in front of the White House were beaten — some people came out and beat them so they could clear the area so the president could come out and go forward. What is that?" she asked. "That has no place, and it's time for us to do away with that, a time to heal."
Pelosi then urged President Trump to “follow the lead of so many other presidents before him, to be a Healer-in-Chief and not a fanner of the flame.”
Pelosi then referred to past presidents in related circumstances, including former President George H.W. Bush, who stressed for unity following the Rodney King riots, and former President Barrack Obama’s call for healing after Eric Garner's death.
Mariann Budde, who is the Episcopal bishop of Washington D.C., also criticized Trump’s visit to St. John’s in a series of tweets, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Tonight, [the] President just used a Bible and a church of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard,” Budde wrote on Monday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the United States Park Police denied the use of tear gas to secure the area but admitted to using “smoke canisters and pepper balls” when protestors reportedly began to become combative.
“At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids,” the USPP said in a statement. “The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street,” the statement said.
“As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls when protestors did scatter from the area.”
Photo courtesy: Bloomberg QuickTake News Screenshot
Video courtesy: Bloomberg QuickTake News Screenshot
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.