MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Former Minneapolis Episcopal rector Mariann Budde condemned President Trump’s visit to the historic St. John’s Church in Washington D.C. Monday, calling the appearance a “symbolic misuse of the most sacred texts of our tradition.

The visit comes after several days of unrest across the country following the death of George Floyd.

On Monday, Mr. Trump walked to the church, which was damaged in Sunday night’s protests, and paused for a photo while holding a bible.

The Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese St. John’s belongs to, said she was “outraged” by Trump’s visit and noted that he didn’t pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.

She spoke with Gayle King about the visit on CBS This Morning.

“After speaking so harshly and with militaristic overtones to the nation, he had the park of peaceful protesters cleared with tear gas and officers in riot gear to make a symbolic gesture, holding a Bible as if to spiritually condone a message and a posture that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything as a church we stand for,” Budde said.

Before becoming bishop in Washington in 2011, Budde served for 18 years as rector of St. John’s Episcopal in Minneapolis.

“I have family there, I have deep friends, I know something of the deep racial divides of that city that are historic and embedded in the institutions of the city and of the state,” Budde expalined. “So all of that and yet the deep desire of so many to bring about change, and the violence that is erupting is devastating but the fundamental cause of the pain is something that we all must look at and we all must address.”

According to Budde, the last time Trump was at the church was the morning after his inauguration and wasn’t aware of any times he’s attended the church after that.

The Bishop also posted to Twitter adding, “We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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