House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, on Tuesday demanded that President Donald Trump be the “chief healer” and “not fan the flames,” criticizing the president for reading passages from the Bible amidst the wave of protests that have shaken more than 70 cities across the country.
“A time for healing, the book of Ecclesiastes,” Pelosi said in the midst of reading the book from the Capitol.
The Democratic leader, who has had serious verbal confrontations with the president, said she hopes Trump will be “the chief healer” and “not fan the flames.
“We have had in the role of the president of the United States, the role of the commander-in-chief, a person who has the responsibility to heal,” Pelosi added.
Just before the curfew took effect in Washington on Monday, police cleared Lafayette Square, the park in front of the White House, for the president, surrounded by some of his advisers, to walk through it on their way to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where all presidents since the 19th century have prayed.
Trump, who has vowed to crack down on “looters,” posed for the cameras with a Bible in his hand in front of the walled-up windows of the church, in whose basement a fire broke out in the midst of intense rioting on Sunday night.
The decision has been widely criticized in the country for the political use of the religious book, and the police charges and tear gas used by the security forces to allow the president to go to church.
The U.S. is experiencing massive coast-to-coast protests against police brutality, including looting and violent clashes, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis a week ago.