Kellyanne Conway defended President Donald Trump’s decision to tear-gas protesters for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church Monday night by going after the bishop who presides over that congregation.
The White House counselor was confronted with the criticism from Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde during an appearance on Fox News early Tuesday afternoon. Asked to respond to Budde, who told CNN’s Anderson Cooper she was “outraged” that Trump had used her church as a “prop,” Conway went on the attack.
After listing various actions Trump has taken in the name of “religious liberty”—implying that all clergy should be grateful for his help—Conway addressed Budde directly.
“That is not ‘her church,’ that is not ‘her Bible,’” Conway said. “We don’t look into other people’s hearts and souls and discern and judge what their faith is.”
Then, after saying we can’t pretend to know why the president “felt compelled to walk there” and hold a Bible in the air awkwardly, Conway did just that.
“That is a symbol to everyone that we will not allow arsonists and anarchists who set that fire ablaze, who demean the memory of those that lost their lives in the name of their respective faith and religions, we won't allow them to dissuade us from practicing our religion,” she said, failing to note that members of the church were among those tear-gassed on Monday.
Before the interview was over, Conway made sure to get in one last dig at Joe Biden, who promised action on police brutality and systemic racism in a speech earlier in the day. “Joe, you’ve been here 40 years in this city,” she said snidely. “What do you mean you're going to do it now?”