“I am outraged. The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s, nor as you just articulated, did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now,” Budde told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”
“And in particular, that of the people of color in our nation, who wonder if anyone ever — anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred words. And who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country. And I just want the world to know, that we in the diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love … we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this President. We follow someone who lived a life of nonviolence and sacrificial love.”
“We align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others,” she continued. “And I just can’t believe what my eyes have seen.”
Trump was surrounded by aides in front of the church, including national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Attorney General Bill Barr, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
“We have the greatest country in the world,” Trump said outside the building.
“Let me be clear: The President just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus,” she said.
The episode follows nearly a week of protests across the country that at times have turned violent over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis.
While still at the White House Monday evening, Trump declared himself “your president of law and order,” and vowed to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said.
But Budde stressed Monday that his presence in front of the church — and his response to the nationwide protests — were both unwelcome.
“What I am here to talk about is the abuse of sacred symbols for the people of faith in this country to justify language, rhetoric, an approach to this crisis that is antithetical to everything we stand for.”
Michael Curry, the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, said in a statement Monday that Trump had “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan purposes.”
“This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or heal us,” Curry said.
“This is blasphemy in real time,” Brewer said on Twitter.
This is story has been updated with additional information Monday.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins and Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.