At 7:01pm on Monday, Eastern US time, US President Donald Trump walked out of the White House and towards St. John’s Episcopal Church, also known as the Church of the Presidents, where he was photographed by the press, holding aloft a Bible.
A video of the walk, accompanied by rousing music, was uploaded by the official White House Twitter page. It depicts a peaceful walk on a sunny afternoon in Washington DC.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 2, 2020
Photos of Donald Trump holding up the Bible as though it is a trophy were circulated by his supporters.
But the real news story here is the tactics employed by Trump to get that photo, and what was happening just out of frame.
Moments earlier, thousands of people, protesting peacefully, were gathered outside the White House.
They had been there for several days. Nearly a week earlier, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota. The 46-year-old man’s death triggered protests – some violent, others peaceful – across America, as the nation responds to the irrefutable injustice black citizens continue to experience at the hands of authorities.
On this particular evening in Washington DC, the protests were peaceful as people gathered to shout for justice and hold up signs reading “Black Lives Matter”.
That day, Trump made a national address in which he declared: “I am your president of law and order.”
“We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now.”
He then instructed police and law enforcement to “dominate the streets” against protestors.