I’ll be brief.

I hesitate to even write about this, I really do.. it’s a waste of time and blog space.. so I’m just going to put it down, and move on. But here it is:  As we have observed, the president* has been pretty conflicted about all that’s happened this past week… conflicted because he’s the president and people look to the president in times of national crisis, but racial disparity, social injustice and the repeated killing of innocent black men at the hands of police officers are not big issues for his supporters (or him, let’s be honest).  It’s no wonder he’d not said anything about the murder of George Floyd nor offered any compassion for the pain and anger people have been feeling. He doesn’t really care. And he certainly couldn’t offer much about how to deal with the growing unrest or even begin to address some of the underlying, systemic problems leading to same. But he should, I mean he’s the president, and he probably knows that on some level…that he has some moral role to play here. But again, caring, unifying, calming … not in his wheelhouse. Things got a lot easier for him, however, when all the looting and rioting began. He could shift the nation’s focus (or at least FOX’s) to what all those very bad people were doing; he could make THAT the story and not have to deal with all the other. The out-of-control looting, arson and property destruction became the perfect vehicle for him to be a super tough guy and roll out some macho law & order stuff. He would be off the hook for dealing with racial issues and could shift to tough talk about all the THUGS. He’d already been tweeting about some of this earlier in the week — “they loot, we shoot” and some super great ideas about releasing vicious dogs on protesters who get too close to the White House.. oh, and imposing ten-year prison sentences for all these thugs, too. So today, he decided it was finally time (safe) to go before the American people with a statement. End his silence. People have been waiting for this all week (not me, I’d love his continued silence now and forever).  Plus, being visible and talking tough would be a good strategy because he’s been getting quite a bit of flack this week for hiding out in the bunker (literally a bunker!) beneath the White House when the D.C. protesters got particularly raucous and too-close-for-comfort to the White House. (And, gosh, there was Joe Biden out there walking among, and talking to, protesters and asking them to share their concerns and actually listening to their answers… all the while wearing a weak-guy mask… but still). So..  bunker guy staged (hastily) a Rose Garden briefing this afternoon. He planned to announce all kinds of things, like how he’s going to dispatch the military to cities all over the country to fight and/or round up the protesters. He’d said in an earlier meeting with governors that they were all weenies (well, the governors of Blue States, anyway) and that the whole world was laughing at the U.S. and that the governors (well, the governors of Blue States) would have to dominate–a word he repeated a lot during what was reported to be a very contentious meeting–the streets of their cities. DOMINATE. Then, just before he was to appear in the Rose Garden, he had rows and rows of I-don’t-know-how-many branches of security and police forces, including the guys on horses–everyone in full on riot gear–enter Lafayette Park (just to the North of the White House and within earshot of the Rose Garden) and line up in formation, squaring off with protesters. These, by the way, were peaceful protesters, mostly young, a mix of black and white (by some accounts mostly white). They’d been there all day, chanting, singing, rallying one another around some pretty heavy issues of justice and civil rights. (As Mayor Cuomo said later this evening, this is exactly what you hope young people might do… you want them to  think and care about how to make this nation better.) So just as the president* is getting ready to make his remarks, the rows of security forces move right in on the protesters and begin shooting rubber bullets, firing flash bangs, and releasing tear gas into the crowd. They successfully remove every last one from the area. This is audible from the Rose Garden as the president* begins to speak and drones on about how he is going to bring order to our cities and end the looting. So yes, his whole speech was about looting and not about a dead black man. Not one word about that (except a couple of obligatory comments at the beginning). And yeah.. he used our own military against our own people. Peacefully protesting, mostly young people.


Then, he concluded his remarks with something like, “now I’m going to visit a very special place” and walks off. At this point, reporters have no idea what this means, but very soon put it all together. He’d cleared the streets behind the WH so he could walk over to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been vandalized a couple of nights before and was boarded up. He, and an odd little entourage of staffers (plus daughter and son-in-law) and a ton of secret service folks, walked right up to the front of the church, whereupon the president* pulls out a bible and holds it up in the air while cameras flashed. He said something about how the economy’s going to come back (I forget, but it was odd and inconsequential.. the remarks were mostly muttered and seemed completely random and unscripted), and then his guys, plus his new press secretary Kayleigh McEneny, stood for a group photo op, then they turned around and went back to the WH. The whole thing took just minutes.


Reporters and commentators went through the usual “I’ve never seen anything so bizarre” and many laughed (though admitted it was nothing to laugh about) at how ridiculous it was. The bishop for St. John’s was appalled, insulted, infuriated and minced no words. Analysts talked about the limits of his authority and the limitlessness of his gall. Shameful was the consensus. They also spoke of how his approval rating with evangelicals was plunging, which explains his hoisting of a bible.  Sooo…. between the round up all the looters and restore order tough guy announcement, and the I’m not holed up in a bunker (!) walk to the church and back (with nobody but secret service and WH insiders as far as the eye could see), and the I take my bible everywhere I go nod to the evangelicals, he checked a lot of boxes today!

Loathe as I am to include a picture of him.. here he is posing with bible (“a” bible, he had to clarify for a reporter, not his bible) in front of the church for his photo op.

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Nothing awkward about this.