CLAIM: Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) claimed during Thursday’s CNN town hall that President Trump held a Bible upside down outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church and retreated to his bunker. He also claimed that there was “no violence whatsoever” outside of the White House.
VERDICT: False. Despite the widespread narrative, the president did not hold the Bible upside down in front of the church. Furthermore, Secret Service reportedly rushed Trump to an underground bunker in the White House during the violent protests that unfolded just days before — not on the day that he visited the church. That same weekend, rioters set the historic church ablaze.
“A president stands out there when people are peacefully protesting in front of the White House. No, no violence whatsoever,” Biden said Thursday, failing to mention the violent clashes that occurred near and outside of the White House just days before President Trump took a stand outside of the church.
He gets the military to go in for tear gas. Both people physically move out of the way so he can walk across to a Protestant church and hold a Bible upside down. I wonder, have [sic] he ever opened it[?] Upside down and then go back to a bunker in the White House? What are we talking about here? Is simply wrong to engage the military, in dealing with domestic unrest as a [sic] relates to violence as a consequence of people protesting. We can take care of this. It can be taken care of we took care of in our administration. There’s no need to escalate this and think of what the rest of the world is looking?
Many aspects of Biden’s statement are blatantly false.
Despite Biden’s claim, Trump did not hold the Bible upside down in front of the church. A basic Google Images search shows Trump holding the Bible right side up. Additionally, the incident that saw Secret Service reportedly rushing Trump to a White House bunker occurred days before he made his way to the church, as rioters dominated the city. Biden’s claim, that protesters outside of the White House were peaceful, is also false, as they assaulted journalists, vandalized property, and hurled objects at police officers and Secret Service that same weekend — the same weekend that demonstrators set the historic church ablaze:
— Pankaj 🕉️ (@Listen2PANKAJ) June 1, 2020
Insanity outside the White House. Three warnings of an unlawful assembly from the Secret Service before storming into the crowd.
A lot of people have been hit with paper spray. In all the chaos, at least one person was tossed to the ground and presumably arrested. pic.twitter.com/Ab2eSkq9CS
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) May 30, 2020
An SUV has been set alight at the intersection of Connecticut Ave. and I Street, a block over from Lafayette Park. Police flushed everyone out with flashbangs.
Flames spread to a tree and a small structure on the sidewalk. DC Fire has an engine on it. pic.twitter.com/e3HL6SP3cI
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) May 31, 2020
BREAKING: Police fire teargas at #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protesters causing a stampede in Lafayette Park across from White House. DC National Guard is now occupying the park-the first time since the Vietnam War. #BlackLivesMatter #DCProtest pic.twitter.com/9iCnEilV2O
— DCMediaGroup (@DCMediaGroup) May 31, 2020
Slow motion: pic.twitter.com/4CGclLZuX2
— Horizont (@hori_____zont) May 30, 2020
Protestors are burning American flags and throwing anything they can find into this fire here on H street outside of the White House. The crowd is starting swell! #DCProtests @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/o6jVTKBO2a
— Sharla McBride (@SharlaMcBride) June 1, 2020
This is not the first time Biden has made a series of false claims. During a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, in July, the former vice president stated that Trump “decided he had to walk across from the White House, through a group of peaceful demonstrators, to an Episcopal Church to hold a Bible upside down, which I don’t know how often he reads, and he used the military to do that.”
Attorney General William Barr (R) has also quashed the left’s narrative that the protesters in Lafayette Park were peaceful.
“They were not peaceful protesters. And that’s one of the big lies that the–the media is–seems to be perpetuating at this point,” he said during an appearance on Face the Nation in June.
“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, OK, there were violent riots in–at Lafayette Park where the park police were under constant attack at the–behind their bike rack fences,” Barr explained.
“On Sunday, things reached a crescendo. The officers were pummeled with bricks. Crowbars were used to pry up the pavers at the park and they were hurled at police. There were fires set in not only St. John’s Church, but a historic building at Lafayette was burned down,” he added.