New York Governor Andrew Cuomo further criticised the president for his church photo op by bringing his own Bible to a press briefing.
The governor, who’s been giving daily briefings since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, opened by condemning Donald Trump for seemingly using the Bible as a prop.
“The president held up the Bible the other day in Washington DC,” Mr Cuomo said. “Here in New York, we actually read the Bible.”
Mr Cuomo went on to read a few passages from his Bible that “are especially appropriate for today in this time of where we are,” amid the George Floyd protests continuing across the country.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” the governor read, citing Matthew 5:9. He then read from Mark 3:25, which states: “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Bringing the Bible to the press briefing was in response to Mr Trump’s photo op on Monday after his Rose Garden address.
Protesters in Lafayette Square were quickly dispersed using chemical agents, flash bangs, and rubber bullets to allow for the president to walk from the White House to St John’s Episcopal Church and hoist up a Bible for cameras.
“Is that your Bible?” a reporter is heard asking Mr Trump during the moment. He responded: “It’s a Bible.”
The Trump administration organised the photo op after the church partially burned the night before during George Floyd protests, but it largely caused further backlash against the president.
The president is calling out the American military against American citizens.
He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church.
It's all just a reality TV show for this president.
Shameful.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo)June 1, 2020
After the incident, Mr Cuomo tweeted out against the act by calling the moment “shameful” and stating it was “just a reality TV show for this president”.
The governor also used the press briefing on Wednesday to address the president’s threat to utilise the military across the country to control protests.
Defence Secretary Mark Esper was quoted by the governor, who said on Wednesday he only supported the use of the Insurrection Act in “ in the most urgent and dire of situations.”
“We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Mr Esper said.
The Insurrection Act empowers the president to deploy the US military and federalise the National Guard under specific circumstances, such as suppressing civil disorder or disobedience.
Mr Cuomo accused the president of as threatening to use the military as a “political weapon”.