Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused President Trump of abusing his power as commander in chief by instructing military personnel to clear the protesters outside the White House in order so he could “stage a photo op at a noble church.”
“When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House — using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” Biden said in remarks from Philadelphia City Hall Tuesday morning.
According to reports, Trump ordered the military personnel to clear out the protesters in front of Lafayette Square Park Monday night so he could visit the historic St. John’s Church that was set on fire by rioters during Sunday protest.
“The president held up the Bible at St. John’s church yesterday,” Biden said. “I just wished he’d open it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he’d opened it he would have learned something. We’re all called to love one another as we love ourselves. It’s really hard work, but it’s the work of America.”
“Donald Trump isn’t interested in doing that work,” Biden continued. “In addition to the Bible, he might also want to open the U.S. Constitution. If he did, he’d find the First Amendment. It protects ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’”
Biden’s Philadelphia speech is his first major speech given in over three months since the coronavirus outbreak.