Trump staged photo op at church ‘out of anger at claims he was sheltering in White House bunker’

President has said he wants to send the military into US cities, something he may not have authority to do

Andrew Naughtie
Tuesday 02 June 2020 09:28
Comments
Trump holds up bible outside Washington church

Donald Trump’s brief appearance at a shuttered church outside the White House on Monday was motivated by his fury at news coverage saying he was rushed to the White House bunker for his safety on Friday, reports say.

According to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Mr Trump made the highly unusual trip outside the White House gates – for which crowds were cleared by police – partly because he was “upset” by the coverage. Reacting to her report, a visibly dismayed Anderson Cooper replied, “Oh my god. We’re in trouble.”

His photo op at St John’s Episcopal Church, which is only a minute’s walk from the White House, was facilitated by riot police clearing Lafayette Square with tear gas and rubber bullets, holding protesters back less than 100 yards away so that the president could walk over to the church, where he silently held up a bible while explosions and shouting were heard from out of shot.

The White House bunker, whose full name is the Presidential Emergency Operations Centre, is a secure shelter underneath the house’s East Wing. It allows officials and presidents sheltering there to continue their work in safety during emergencies, and was famously used for the purpose on 9/11.

Mr Trump and his wife were reportedly rushed to the bunker on Friday night as protesters reached the gates of the White House, where they clashed with police.

The president has lately been calling for tough action to halt the protests, including on Twitter, one missive simply reading “LAW & ORDER!”

In leaked audio from a conference call with governors on Monday, he can be heard telling them “you have to dominate. If you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”

Going beyond simply condemning the riots, Mr Trump the same day called for “heavily armed” military deployments on American streets – even over the objections of governors and mayors. However, it is unclear whether he has the legal authority to give such orders unilaterally.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in