A day after a much-criticized photo op at a fire-damaged church near the White House, Donald Trump took his anti-protester “law and order” message to a Catholic shrine, a visit that drew swift condemnation from a top church official.
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled across town Tuesday for a brief visit to Saint John Paul II National Shrine adjacent to The Catholic University of America. The shrine is a place of prayer for Catholics but welcomes people of all faiths.
The Trumps posed for photos in front of a statue of Saint Pope John Paul II outside the shrine and stood silently for a few minutes, hands clasped in front of them. They did not make any remarks, outside of Trump whispering to Melania for her to smile (VIDEO BELOW.)
Trump asks Melania to smile during today's photo op. pic.twitter.com/B59YeDHKRM — The Recount (@therecount) June 2, 2020
Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory slammed the presidential visit in a statement shortly before the Trumps’ arrival.
“I find it baffling that and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory said in a statement.