Hope Hicks ‘helped hatch’ Trump’s disastrous photo-op stunt: reports

Hope Hicks ‘helped hatch’ Trump’s disastrous photo-op stunt: reports
President Donald J. Trump walks from the White House Monday evening, June 1, 2020, to St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as the church of Presidents’s, that was damaged by fire during demonstrations in nearby LaFayette Square Sunday evening. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump has been drawing widespread criticism over the way in which nonviolent “Justice for George Floyd” protestors were violently forced out of Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square by police on Monday in order to clear the way for Trump to walk to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church for a speech and photo-op — and according to reports from the New York Times and the Daily Mail, Trump adviser Hope Hicks helped coordinate what has turned out to be a worldwide public relations disaster.


According to the Mail, Hicks “helped hatch the plan to have the president walk across the street from the White House to pose in front of St. John’s Church…. As a PR move, it may have backfired after global and national media broadcast images of shield-bearing and mounted police using force to clear Lafayette Park — an area whose use as a forum for demonstrations and speech has long been protected.”

New York Times reporter Katie Rogers explained: “St. John’s — the so-called Church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has attended — had been briefly set ablaze as the protests devolved on Sunday evening. After Mr. Trump’s aides spent much of Monday expressing outrage over the burning of a place of worship, Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have the president walk over to the building, according to an official familiar with the events.”

During CNN’s coverage, the following words appeared on the screen: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo-Op.” And former Vice President Joe Biden (the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee) tweeted that Trump “tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo.”

Scathing criticism of the publicity stunt also came from Mariann E. Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Budde told the Times, “(Trump) did not pray. He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years. We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces.”

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