In a Thursday afternoon press appearance, Attorney General William Barr rewrote the history of the events on Monday evening yet again as he claimed that he had already made the decision to “expand the perimeter” around the White House well in advance of troops blasting protesters from the area. In Barr’s telling, he personally saw “projectiles” being thrown from the protesters—a claim that has been denied by reporters on the scene. Barr also claimed that protesters were “interfering with the operation” of the federal government. So there was no choice but to blast the crowd with rubber bullets, flash-bangs, and tear gas, driving the protesters from the square and the priests from their church. Barr admitted that some of the protesters might have been peaceful and … so what?
That Trump then decided to stroll over for a photo op was, according to Barr, a mere coincidence. After all, Trump “should be able to walk outside the White House and walk to the 'church of presidents’” any time he wants … apparently no matter how many people have to be hurt to make that happen.
According to Mother Jones, Bishop Budde declared that Trump’s use of the church as a background for his Bible-fondling was a “symbolic misuse of the most sacred texts of our tradition.” On Wednesday, the Episcopal bishop planned a vigil in front of the church as a demonstration of solidarity with protesters. But both the bishop and the worshipers who came to participate were held outside the new Wall of Fear. Unable to reach the church, and with nowhere to gather so that Budde could address the group, the vigil ended before it began.
When protesters on the scene objected to cameras that had been following the event, and the media attention Budde was getting, she responded by sitting down on the pavement to begin a lengthy discussion with the protesters around her.
Though Trump and Barr blocked the bishop and church members from holding their vigil, other members of the clergy and pastors of other churches found their way to where Budde was sitting.
What started out as an attempt to demonstrate solidarity and support became … a moment of solidarity and support.
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