Following President Donald Trump’s speech from the Rose Garden on Monday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper shared his disbelief that Trump had authorities hit peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets so he could walk to St. John’s Church to pose for pictures.
“Oh my God. Wow. We are in trouble,” Cooper told fellow CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins. “He was hiding in a bunker and embarrassed that people know that. So what does he have to do? He has to stick police on peaceful protesters so he can make a big show of being the little big man walking to a closed down church.”
While airing the footage of Trump crossing Lafayette Square after police cleared out a peaceful protest, Cooper said, “He always talks about how the world is laughing at the governors right now, [but] the only person the world is laughing at is the President of the United States. And this event, if it wasn’t so dangerous and disgusting, it would be funny because it’s just so low rent and sad.”
Cooper added, “I planned to come tonight and trying to be as calm and reasonable and straightforward — and do this hour of news. And this happened. I can’t believe this is what we have. This is the President we have. They wanted a disrupter? Well, yeah. That’s what disruption is.”
Cooper started trending on Twitter as his fiery comments went viral on social media. His distaste for Trump’s actions on Monday continued to be the topic of discussion as he spoke with CNN journalist Jim Acosta. “This was bad reality television,” Acosta said, “It wasn’t even good reality television.”
Video Shows Authorities Violently Clearing Protesters in Lafayette Park Before Trump Walked to St. John’s Church
Trump did not take questions from the media following his six-minute speech in the Rose Garden. Instead, he announced that he needed to pay homage “to a very special place.”
Soon after, Axios reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted, “Source tells me park rangers are clearing Lafayette Park (with tear gas) because President Trump is going to walk to St. John’s church from the White House soon.”
CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller tweeted, “Standing in front of St. John’s Church, boarded up against violent protests, and with senior staff at his side, plus Attorney General Barr, Pres Trump says ‘we have the greatest country in the world.’ Holding a Bible, he says he’ll keep the country ‘nice and safe.’”
Reverend Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, told the Washington Post that she was “outraged” at Trump’s trip to visit St. John’s, which she didn’t know about until she saw it on the news.
“I … was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence,” Budde said.