House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) opted to read from the Bible on Tuesday in response to President Trump walking to St. John’s Episcopal Church that was damaged during Sunday night’s protests, holding up a Bible.
Trump on Monday, in a show of solemnity, walked through Lafayette Square to pay respects to the historic church that caught fire Sunday as a state of sheer mayhem descended upon D.C.’s streets:
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WATCH: President Trump walks across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church. Holding a Bible he says, "We have a great country. That's my thoughts." pic.twitter.com/A3HS8hR32p
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The president, upon arrival, held up a Bible — a move that drew outrage from Never Trumpers and progressive critics, some of whom accused him of engaging in a sacrilegious act and categorized him as a dictator and fascist.
The Speaker, who has remained relatively silent on the violence dominating the streets of several U.S. cities, responded to Trump’s walk on Tuesday, reading a partial scripture from the Book of Ecclesiastes:
NEW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a president of the United States “has the responsibility to heal,” quoting former President. George H. W. Bush following the Rodney King riots and Former President Barack Obama’s following the killing of Eric Garner. https://t.co/cVIWqSfzSR pic.twitter.com/GlM4TXitYC
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Pelosi told reporters she had been thinking a lot about “time” — the “most important commodity” — and read from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, in which King Solomon reflects on the topic.
“Last night when I saw the president holding up the Bible, I was thinking of so many things in the Bible that would have been appropriate in terms of the humanity of all people in our country,” Pelosi said.
“The time for every event under heaven. He talks about a time to heal — talks about embrace and time to shun embracing, how about that. … A time for peace. Let’s focus on the time to heal,” she urged, only quoting part of the scripture.
“We have had as the role of President of the United States, role of commander of chief, a person who has a responsibility to heal,” she continued, calling on the president, whom she has accused of racism, to be a “healer in chief.”
“We would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before has to be a healer in chief and not a fanner of the flame,” Pelosi said. She continued:
Yesterday we saw a most unfortunate situation where before the curfew – the time of the curfew occurred – peaceful protesters in front of the White House were beaten so the president could come out and go forward. What is that? That has no place and it’s time for us to do away with that. A time to heal.
The Speaker, notably, did not quote the entire scripture — “A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up” — nor did she mention the conclusion of the entire book from which she was quoting:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
Pelosi’s Bible reading follows the release of her joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), both of whom accused the president of “ripping” the country apart:
At this challenging time, our nation needs real leadership. The President’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) June 2, 2020