The networks spent this morning being outraged at President Trump for visiting the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday to show his support, after Antifa broke in and tried to burn it down the night before. On Good Morning America, White House correspondent Cecilia Vega was more upset at President Trump taking photos in front of the church, than she was of the rioters who defaced and started a fire in the church. After huffing and puffing at the president’s “photo op” and “stunt,” all three networks brought on the anti-Trump, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, to continue condemning the president.
After she went on CNN last night to attack Trump, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos was eager to have Bishop Mariann Budde on Good Morning America for more of the same. He started the interview giving the D.C. bishop a chance to explain why she was angry at the President:
“I heard you last night as the situation was unfolding and your anger and anguish were so visceral, explain why this is so painful for you,” Stephanopoulos said sympathetically. Despite emphasizing how the country needed healing and justice just minutes before he visited the church, Budde complained that Trump:
[S]tood in front of St. John's and held up a Bible as if -- as if it were spiritual validation and justification for a message that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and to the God of justice and so I felt in no uncertain terms that I had to disassociate us from that symbolic gesture and to speak a word of justice and peace to the nation.
Stephanopoulos didn’t correct her. Instead he actually asked if she would refuse Trump from coming into any of the churches in her diocese:
"As Cecilia said St. John's is the church of presidents. Every president since James Madison has gone there. Is President Trump still welcome there?" he asked.
Budde said he was, “to pray,” but not to use their church to “promote or justify an entirely different message” than that of her (liberal) church. After that, Stephanopoulos invited her to share what Trump needed to hear about the “crisis in America” (cops killing black unarmed men):
“If President Trump did come to that church and you had the chance to preach to him from the pulpit, what message would you give him about this crisis in America?” the ABC anchor implored. Shamefully, Stephanopoulos did not ask the bishop to condemn the left-wing rioters who actually damaged the church.
On NBC’s Today show and CBS This Morning it was more of the same. Again, no one asked her to comment on Antifa, only Trump. Anchors Craig Melvin and Gayle King used their interviews with Budde to take cheap shots against Trump for not being a regular churchgoer:
“Bishop, is he a frequent worshipper at that church? Does he attend regularly?” Melvin asked Budde, already knowing the answer was 'no.' Budde also was given the platform by NBC to trash “authoritarian” Trump using the Bible and church “as a prop.”
She was also asked to be on CBS This Morning. Correspondent Weijia Jiang gushed that “Democrats and church leaders condemned the visit, accusing President Trump of acting like a dictator, to stage a photo op on sacred ground,” before Budde spoke with anchor Gayle King. King hyped Budde’s “outrage” and gave her the chance to again accuse Trump again of using her church to give a “militaristic” message that was “antithetical” to the Bible.
Like Melvin, King also mocked Trump for his lack of religiosity:
"All right, Bishop, thank you. Before you go does President Trump go to that church, your church on a regular basis?" King asked.