President Donald Trump appealed to the support of two of his religious cheerleaders, Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress, in defending his choice to do a photo-op in front of St John’s Episcopal Church on Tuesday.
The move comes after several religious readers and laypeople have condemned the action, particularly the thoroughly apostate Episcopal Prelates who have been scorching in their criticism, with one episcopal priest, Rev. Gini Gerbasi, calling the event “grotesque and offensive and sacrilegious.”
Trump referenced the two Christian pastors during an interview with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Wednesday night, insisting that “Most religious leaders loved it.”
KILMEADE: The Reverend James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of a book on that church says the church is not a photo op. Their religion is not a political tool, and God is not a plaything. He is among some religious leaders who were very critical of that visit. What’s your response?
TRUMP: Well my response is simple. Most religious leaders loved it. I heard Franklin Graham this morning thought it was great. I heard many other people think it was great. And it’s only the other side that didn’t like it. You know, the opposing — the opposition party as the expression goes. They burned down the church the day before. I heard how nice and wonderful the protestors were over there. Really?
Then why did they burn down the church the day before? They burned down a big section of it. Fortunately they were able to catch it in time. This is a church built at a similar time as the White House, and Madison was your first — was your president. He was number six I believe, and Madison was your president, and he was the first president to enter and go to that church.
Now, when I said go to the church, I didn’t know protestors or not. Nobody tells me that. They say, yes, sir. We’ll go to the church. So we walked over to the church. It was very fast. I think it was very symbolic. I did hold up a Bible. I think that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, and many religious leaders loved it.
As to if you read Mollie Hemingway, who I know you’re a fan of and I’m a big fan of, she wrote a piece that was all fake news. There’s so much fake news. Most news is fake. They’re corrupt and they’re fake. The lame stream media.
Trump reiterated later in the interview:
Most religious leaders loved it. “Why wouldn’t they love it? I’m standing in front of a church that went through trauma — to put it mildly. I mean the whole basement — the big part of the basement was burning. It’s lucky — it’s very lucky that church didn’t burn down. That’s a very important church.
and later still:
I mean take a look at Franklin Graham — so respected and so many others. Take a look at Robert Jeffress — these are all people that you know. They thought it was a great symbol…
And I thought it was a great symbol. But the fake news makes everything look bad. No matter what you do — like we did a great job on ventilators.
For his part, Graham has been enthusiastic about the actions of Trump, saying he was “encouraged” and “appreciative” that he held up the Bible.
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