Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Bible as Weapon (Upholding Straight White Male Supremacy): Commentary on Yesterday's White House Stunt

Heather Cox Richardson, "Letters from an American: June 1, 2020":

Trump began the day with a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday, there was a group of peaceful protestors in Lafayette Square. There was no violence or unrest, and those assembled in the park had every right to be there. (There was a curfew in Washington, D.C., last night, but it had not yet taken effect.) 
Nevertheless, shortly after Trump touted himself as "an ally of all peaceful protesters," law enforcement launched a rather extraordinary offensive against the demonstrators, which included, among other things, firing tear gas and flash-bang shells at those who had peaceably assembled. 
Once Lafayette Square had been cleared by force, Trump walked across the park -- the length of a city block -- stood in front of St. John's, held up a Bible, posed for the cameras, and then walked back. The Republican did not go inside the church; he did not read from the Bible; he did not pray or engage in any form of worship; he didn't even visit with a pastor. 
'Is that your Bible?' a reporter asked. 'It's a Bible,' Trump replied. 
It was quite possibly the most ridiculous presidential photo-op in the history of presidential photo-ops.

[L[ess than an hour before Trump's arrival, armored police used tear gas to clear hundreds of peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square park, which is across the street from the church. 
Authorities also expelled at least one Episcopal priest and a seminarian from the church's patio.
"They turned holy ground into a battleground," said the Rev. Gini Gerbasi.

Josh Marshall, "Crisis":

Protestors have been in Lafayette Park all day but entirely peaceful. Police and military personnel from various agencies just about exactly at 6:30 started pressing a confrontation with what had been for the day an entirely peaceful crowd. They then started firing tear gas and flash bangs. It is impossible to believe that this overlapping timing was not intentional and intended to create a law and order tableau for President Trump to enter into. 
Tear gas, flash bangs, apparently rubber bullets and mounted police heading into the crowd. This all looks not just one way but made for TV. By design.

"Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence," Budde [said] of the president. "We need moral leadership, and he's done everything to divide us."

Please see this subsequent posting which is a footnote to the preceding one.

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