President Donald Trump is getting called out on social media after posing in front of a church with a Bible ― a photo-op possible only after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters to clear the area.
Trump then walked through a phalanx of police and Secret Service officers to reach St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was vandalized during the civil unrest over the weekend sparked by the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bishop Mariann Budde, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which owns the church, expressed “outrage” at the president’s appearance there and vowed to disassociate the church from his actions.
She was hardly alone.
On Twitter, critics from across the political spectrum quickly tore into the president for his use of a Bible as a “prop” for his photo-op:
Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything. pic.twitter.com/RZwPeqrwoZ— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 2, 2020
He holds that Bible like it’s burning him.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2020
#BunkerBoy Trump had to prove he could walk in broad daylight today so he sicced the police on peaceful protesters so he could stand there and awkwardly hold the Bible. Dear God. We need to end this nightmare of a presidency. https://t.co/umEY90OTcy— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 2, 2020
This is how much Trump cares about the church he visited. They didn't know he was coming, and he didn't talk to them before he left. This was propaganda through and through. https://t.co/Fcu4qKS70n— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 2, 2020
Actual religious leaders should be incensed that he instigated violence to use the bible as a prop. His phony phalanx of evangelical enablers will only love him more.— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) June 1, 2020
What Trump did today was pure evil.— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 2, 2020
This man who never goes to church and can’t quote a verse form the Bible ordered the U.S. military to attack his own citizens just so he could hold up a Bible for a photo op at a church.
Did Vice President Pence not accompany the president to his disgraceful Bible-as-prop visit to St. John's? Was this a bridge too far even for him? pic.twitter.com/rDRqOR4zzA— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 2, 2020
Trump’s posing with a bible after directly ordering an attack on a constitutionally legal, peaceful assembly of American citizens is a perversion of decency and the basic tenants of American liberty unequaled in our long history. His words are those of a tyrant. NOT IN THIS LAND— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 2, 2020
Trump’s posing with a Bible in front of a church after mobilizing the military against the people is an attempt to use Christianity as a veneer for his authoritarian aspirations. How many will play along because they too require a faux moral justification for their support?— Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) June 2, 2020
President Trump just used tear gas and flash grenades to clear peaceful protesters out of his way so he could wave a bible in front of a church. That is what he just did. Is this country strong enough to get through these next four months? I'm seriously worried.— Abigail Disney (@abigaildisney) June 2, 2020
The Bible means so much to Orange Nixon that he can’t cite a single verse. pic.twitter.com/Kpu1V8UQg3— Chris Sacca (@sacca) June 2, 2020
Donald Trump used our tax dollars to tear gas American cirizens who were peacefully protesting, so that he and his gaggle of devoted white men could walk to a closed church for a photo op holding a bible.— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) June 2, 2020
Trump fired tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors so he could get a photo opp in front a church that didn’t want him there, holding a Bible from which he cannot name a single verse, all to prove he’s not a coward hiding in his bunker again. A perfect encapsulation.— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 2, 2020
Tonight Trump ordered an assault on protestors with rubber bullets and tear gas so he could stand in front of a church and hold up the Bible? Clearly he has no sense of what is in the good book—things like love, peace, and reconciliation.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) June 2, 2020
Long night for Trump when his hand starts burning where he touched that Bible.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) June 2, 2020
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.