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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.

The White House

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that Donald Trump has a "great record when it comes to the LGBTQ community."

Chris Johnson, chief political and White House reporter for the Washington Blade, asked McEnany if Trump would reconsider the ban on transgender people in the military after 116 Democratic House lawmakers sent a letter last week to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr calling for the Pentagon to end the policy.

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