Priest Tear-Gassed, Forcibly Removed From Church Patio For Trump Photo Op
According to The Hill, at least one priest was among the group police removed from the St. John’s Episcopal Church patio ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit for a photo op on Monday evening.
Rev. Gini Gerbasi wrote in a Facebook post that “that she, along with the church's seminarian, were forcibly removed from the patio less than an hour before Trump arrived to take pictures in front of St. John's while holding a Bible,” the report stated.
At the same time, police cleared Lafayette Square park outside of the White House with tear gas to make a path for Trump to walk to the church.
Gerbasi said: “We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John's, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually - with SO MANY concussion grenades - back to K street.”
“I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY,” she said.
“The patio of St. John's, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today,” she added. “A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second.”
The Hill noted that police efforts to clear the square and the church came prior to the 7 p.m. curfew.
[T]he Right Rev. Mariann Budde, an Episcopal bishop, told The Washington Post Monday that she was “outraged” to learn the president was speaking in front of the church without being notified ahead of time.