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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted Tuesday that Donald Trump's photo-op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square the day before was not actually a photo-op.

On Monday, military police fired tear gas into a crowd of peaceful protesters, including clergy members, to clear a path for Trump to walk from the White House to the nearby church.


Trump spent approximately three minutes in front of the church, posing for pictures with a Bible. Asked by a reporter whether it was his Bible, Trump responded that it was "a Bible." Trump did not go inside the church, nor did he meet with any members of the church.

Video of the photo-op was later used for a propaganda video sent out by the official White House Twitter account.

"WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN'S - a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day - SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!!" Gini Gerbasi, rector for St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown, wrote on Facebook later that evening.

Trump's actions were also criticized by other members of the clergy in Washington.

From a June 2 media availability at the White House:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think the words photo-op itself call into que— you're looking in somebody's heart and wondering, second-guessing why they would go over there.
Is it a photo-op because a photo was taken? While the president of the United States was in front of a church where he went on Inauguration Day? Where every president has gone for more than two centuries?
I think that itself is a mischaracterization. I know it ended up being a Sesame Street Grover word of the day, but that doesn't make it right and it doesn't make it true.

Kellyanne Conway photo op 06-02-2020 from Shareblue Media on Vimeo

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Photo by The White House

A Maryland anti-vaxxer is facing charges for threatening National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci over email-- going as far as to warn the face of America's COVID-19 response that he would be "hunted, captured, tortured and killed," among other things-- according to court documents that were unsealed on Tuesday.

According to the affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr. committed two violations-- threatening a federal official and sending interstate communication containing a threat to harm, both of which are felonies.

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