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The sea of protests in front of the White House was parted not by miracle, but by force. Last night, federal police used tear gas to clear a walking route to a nearby church so that the president could stage a photo op.
It was there that Donald Trump held the Bible—“it’s a Bible,” he told a reporter who asked if it was his—aloft.
The striking scene captured so much about this presidency, and how Trump employs his pulpit. Four of our writers explain:
Trump wanted to be seen as “strong, ruthless, and pious,” so “he commandeered the nation’s attention with the choreographed precision of a onetime TV showman,” our White House correspondent Peter Nicholas reports.
Trump positions himself as the champion law-and-order president, David A. Graham writes, but delivers only chaos.
“Sacredness has never been a concern of Trump’s,” McKay Coppins points out. And many Christians reject his message, Emma Green reports.