Branding Wars

Folks, forget politics – that’s dead anyway – and pay attention to the genius branding.

Trump walked out of the White House and slowly strolled to St John’s Church that the peaceful looters set in fire last night. And he was carrying a Bible.

That’s absolutely amazing branding. Great visuals, brilliant messaging. Especially compared to Biden’s geriatric kneeling pic and his chin mask speech. Honestly, just take the mask off completely. It looks ridiculous when you pull it down under your chin where it makes you look like you’ve had cosmetic surgery to remove a double chin.

I love talented stuff, and this was very talented.

65 thoughts on “Branding Wars”

  1. While obviously I oppose rioting, I truly found myself unable to comprehend the visceral terror and panic most conservatives have when there is rioting. But this twitter thread really helped me understand. It seems like most readers of this blog already “get it,” but anyone else like me who just lacks that instinct, I think this will help you get it on an intellectual level at least, even if you can’t really feel it yourself.

    While I understand the feeling better now, the conservative response still frustrates me. I feel like they scream “STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!” with no interest in what caused the chaos and disorder, or how it can be prevented in the future. The cause is “people are bad and wanna do crime” (yes, but isn’t this always true? why now?) and the solution is “we need to get these people off the streets.” Just seems like very short term thinking. I’m sure I’m the same way on various issues (and lord know liberals as a whole so), so don’t take this as a “holier than thou” thing.

    It just surprised me that while I’m constitutionally conservative in many ways, this is something I just totally didn’t get. I even feel like this visceral response to rioting comes from a similar place as conservatives’ visceral disgust at pedophilia and bestiality, a disgust I share. Yet on rioting, my emotions are totally liberal.

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    1. Here’s how I understand it. Those looters are everybody. That’s how everybody is. Human beings are like that. Running, grabbing, shoving, hitting. It takes an enormous edifice of civilization, institutions, coercion, etc to make human beings not do that for some historically short periods of time in a small number of places. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to progress away from this basic human nature and a very short way to regress. Very, very short.

      In the USSR, we had a state monolith where everybody was extremely well-behaved. We had no street crime, let alone organized crime. And then it all blew up. It was so fast. We had a whole generation of young men get wiped out in bandit wars or emigrate to escape from it.

      More recently, I saw it in Ukraine. Lugansk, the place I was born, went from an industrial city to a smoldering ruin where gangs of strung out criminals are roving and doing terrible things. This happened within months. And if a year or even 3 months before anybody predicted it, we’d laugh hysterically.

      I don’t think there’s anything that causes these things. I think they already exist. They are prevented from manifesting by an intricate system that can be very easily undone. And once people experienced what this raw humanity is, I have no idea how you can squeeze them back into civilization.

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      1. That’s what I got from the thread. And seeing the thread mentioned the USSR, I suspected it might play a role in your thinking.

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        1. Have you ever raised children? My third son is a year old now, and I’ve concluded that we are all (particularly boys!) born selfish, psychopathic barbarians. Maybe there are mutant exceptions out there. They have to be carefully trained to do things like respect other people’s property and boundaries, not hurt people, clean up after themselves… they’re definitely not born with it. My working theory is that adult psychopaths are just people who were never socialized out of it.

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          1. Absolutely, 100% true. It’s fascinating to observe small kids because you see the pristine state of human nature. And that’s what the whole process of parenting is. It’s integrating little animals into the norms of society. The natural instinct is always to hit, scratch, bite and grab. And as parents we paaaaaaaaatiently socialize the kids into the social norms, which are the opposite of these natural instincts.

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            1. Before I had kids, I thought they were sooooo cute and sweet! It was really stunning to find out that kids– MY OWN kids– were total jerks, and that I had to painstakingly train them to be… not even kind. That’s pie-in-the-sky stuff… but just workably civilized. Like, if your brother makes fun of your pronunciation, that does not, in any way, justify trying to push him off the stairs. And I hear the same from other parents with (apparently) well-behaved, nice kids– when they’re relaxed enough to be honest. Without intervention, they would definitely try to murder each other. Cain and Abel is one of the oldest stories. Civilization is an absolute, precious, freaking MIRACLE.

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              1. I’m really glad there are people who are honest enough to admit this. 🙂

                I remember when my sister and I had these cute Hallmark fantasies about how our kids who are the same age would play blissfully together in front of the fireplace like little angels.

                But the moment we brought the little angels together, they tore into each other like rabid beasts. All we could do was prevent them from slaughtering each other. It was nature in its rawest form. The little animals were fighting it out for domination and scarce resources. One particularly vicious fight was over who would get to sit in this particular spot of a gigantic sofa that could house 20 such toddlers.

                So yeah. Civilization, kindness, generosity, manners, and not peeing on the floor are not natural. They are a result of extremely hard work.

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              2. The funny thing is, even if the resources are not scarce, kids will treat them as if they are. You can buy each of them identical, individual toys but they don’t want their own toy, they want the one that the other kid has!

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              3. Exactly! I didn’t know it and would always proudly bring two identical toys whenever a kid came over for a playdate. And then I’d be reduced to asking, over and over, “But can you logically explain why you want your friend’s toy when your own is exactly the same?” Which is not the smartest thing I’ve ever said, for sure.

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              4. OMG that. I watched my siblings and friends go through that equal-toys thing with their kids. It puzzled me, until my second got old enough for the rivalry to really set in. After a couple of episodes, I decided that was a fool’s game, and now I NEVER get them identical anything. If one of them gets a toy bulldozer, the other one gets a book. Then it’s a lot harder to say “His is BETTER than mine!” or “The broken one is HIS! This one is MINE!” Boy does that get old fast. They still find ways to fight over everything, of course. “I had to hit him because he looked at me like THIS (squint)!”…

                @CC It’s true, they often spontaneously play well together. As they get older, they can manage it for longer stretches, sometimes even hours at a time. But it was a mighty struggle to get to that point. If we hadn’t put in the time and effort to curb their murder-impulses, would the cooperation be possible now? I have doubts. I think it’s a progression.

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              5. @methylethyl: “If we hadn’t put in the time and effort to curb their murder-impulses, would the cooperation be possible now?” – cause and effect is a deep philosophical problem. I’m not equipped to answer this one. 🙂

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              6. @CC
                For me, it’s practical not philosophical: If we hadn’t put in the effort, one or both of them would be dead, and there would be no cooperation going on.

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      2. I am little less cynical about human nature. 🙂 I believe that both civilization and anarchy are part of human nature. Yes, kids fight with each other but they also have a natural propensity for ‘play’ (setting up rules and following them for everyone’s enjoyment). The asymmetry lies in the reality that it takes more effort to build but very little to destroy.

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    2. What is there “to get” about being opposed to rioting?

      Riots are violent crimes that threaten public and individual safety, destroy public and individual property, and cause a general disturbance in the broad flow of normal society in a significantly greater way than more isolated crimes like theft or domestic violence (which obviously are also unacceptable)?

      What the hell is the “liberal emotion” about being okay with widespread lawless and mayhem??

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      1. As I already said, I oppose rioting and am against it. Your rudeness and insinuations that I’m “pro-rioting” here are uncalled for. I just do not feel the same level of instinctual panic that most conservatives do, and was curious why they and I are so different in this regard when usually I really get the conservative sensibility. It seems many conservatives are thinking “This is the breakdown of society, restore order!” while I’m thinking “this is bad, but it’ll blow over.” Perhaps because rioting has happened in my city before and nothing changes long term, either positively or negatively.

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    3. ” I truly found myself unable to comprehend the visceral terror and panic most conservatives have when there is rioting”

      To summarize (and simplify and distort) Lakoff….

      conservatives tend to have a strict parent model of society…. citizens are good but sometimes unruly children and the job of government is to make sure they stay in line, develop the strict parents’ model of morality

      liberals tend to have a hippy parent model of society… citizens are creative beings who need to express themselves and any kind of external structure and discipline are bad

      in the conservative view riots are failures of discipline and result in the destruction of the family’s material wealth and dignity and will lead to a lack of character and degeneracy so order and discipline need to be reinstated for the children’s own good

      in the liberal view riots are valuable expressions of feelings that must not be constrained lest the child become stunted and boring, they can buy a new table and a new rug a mess and broken possessions are a small price to pay for their children to remain spontaneous and fully express their feelings

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    4. // While obviously I oppose rioting, I truly found myself unable to comprehend the visceral terror and panic most conservatives have when there is rioting.

      Historically, when mobs gather in times of stress and economic depression, Jews are one of the targets.

      Israeli news programs interview an Israeli shop owner in US whose shop was destroyed, show BLM tweets justifying defacing synagogues since Jews “were the first slave owners” (something like that), and talk of supporting USA Jews and even taking steps to encourage their immigration to Israel (which has always been an Israeli goal).

      Clarissa mentioned: “Lugansk, the place I was born, went from an industrial city to a smoldering ruin where gangs of strung out criminals are roving and doing terrible things.”

      I was born in a small town near Lugansk. My mother has said many times she’s glad we are not there now since she views being Jewish among roving gangs as especially dangerous.

      From news:

      “Los Angeles synagogue defaced with antisemitic graffiti amid violent riots following Minneapolis death”

      “Anti-Semitism in the US hits 4-decade high: report
      2019 was the worst year for anti-Semitic attacks since the Anti-Defamation League began keeping records. This included a massive uptick in violent assaults.”

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  2. To me it seemed like a bad photo op. The way he was holding up the Bible was weird; in fact, it seemed to underscore the merely symbolic nature of his brief presence at the church. If he had made some remarks while he was there, it might have been more effective. But all I got out of it was, “Look at me. And remember, by the way, I’m a Christian.” It appeared poorly conceived to me.

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    1. The content is that while Biden is hiding in the basement wearing a mask for a lonely performance for the camera, Trump is unafraid and undefeated. It’s clearly a response to the people who have spent all night last night howling that he’s scared and in hiding.

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      1. Also, note the previous barrage of snide media commentary about Trump “hiding in the bunker” while everything goes to hell. As if that wasn’t what the Secret Service did with every president when there’s credible threat of violence nearby… I saw it as a direct slap at that.

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        1. I see all the comments in my app and have no idea whose base you are referring to. But on the positive side, your comment is completely right for either candidate or the non-voters. Americans are, indeed, very impressionable. It’s a national characteristic they don’t share with Canadians. Really makes them stand out.

          It’s a good thing, from my point of view. Canadians were getting to me with their stoicism and matter-of-factness.

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          1. “Americans are, indeed, very impressionable. It’s a national characteristic they don’t share with Canadians. Really makes them stand out.”

            It’s nice and heartwarming at times; however, I would wager most people now are tired of so much chaos, uncertainty, never ending scandals, and political division. I think COVID took Trump from a tolerable chaos to intolerable chaos and his lack of real cool headed leadership is starting to show.

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            1. I have no dog in that fight, but I live in a very red area, and you might find it enlightening to consult some rightward news outlets to get a sense of how that story is playing outside the urban progressive enclaves.

              The version I’m hearing most often is: “Trump is on our side, working for us, and we’d be doing ten thousand percent better if those bastard Democrat city trash weren’t still fighting to overturn the 2016 election by any means possible– we’ve got to win the House this November, as well as the White House.” I will not comment on what is true– what do I know?– but there are definitely other ways to read the situation, and many people are reading it differently.

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              1. Also, people consistently misunderstand the import of Trump bringing religious symbols into public life. They keep repeating that Trump himself is not religious, as if anybody was really confused about that. But his nods towards religious people are so important to them because the mainstream culture mocks and degrades them relentlessly. And having a clearly secular person who is a lifelong member of the richest, the most cosmopolitan class, not treat them and their symbols as trash is very important.

                The constant harping on how “he’s not really into reading the Bible and it’s not humanly possible to defend the rights you yourself don’t need and don’t comprehend” tells us a lot about the people who express this idea.

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              2. Precisely. It’s not like we actually believe that this guy who’s on his third? fourth? wife, has assignations with porn stars, refers to communion as a “cracker” etc. is actually religious. That’s not the point. It may even help his cause, in a weird sort of way. He’s not preaching or quoting. He’s not signalling that he’s morally better than us. Contrast that with Pelosi’s attempts to use the Bible in public (where’s my eye-rolling emoji??)… No, Trump doing his Bible thing is really simple: It’s not that he cares about the Bible. It’s that he’s not embarrassed to be associated with us religious types. “I don’t care what Democrats will say, you matter. YOU are America… and I’ll stand with you.”

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              3. The other day there was a commenter on this blog triumphantly informing me that Trump is not really religious. I mean, wow, ya think? And here I thought he was a biblical scholar who has spent his entire life praying and studying the scripture. What a revelation!

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    1. Let’s discuss instead what message Biden is communicating with his chin mask in a dim basement like he’s being bombarded by a swarm of COVID bees.

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      1. Oh, and remember that fake sip of water that Obama took in Flint?

        That was bad messaging. Completely unnecessary, too. He wouldn’t have dropped dead if he’d swallowed some actual water.

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  3. For what it’s worth, I really don’t CARE how phony or posturing or tin-horn-dictator-like Trump acts as long as he brings an end — by whatever means — to the utter anarchy that I watched on television all weekend, with looters gleefully running wild for hours and no cops in sight, and endless burning police cars and shop owners being beaten, while city and state authorities were quivering under their beds, afraid of defending their citizens and public property because they might incur condemnation from liberal elitists who are themselves safely out of harm’s way.

    If Trump’s actions finally bring an end to this ridiculous mayhem, either indirectly by scaring mayors and governors into belatedly taking action (and that appears to happening in several major cities) — or directly, by twisting the Constitution a little and sending in the National Guard to bust some heads, that’s fine with me.

    Yes, I realize “this is how the Nazi Party got started in Germany” and the totalitarians took over control of Eastern Europe and all that, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about the protesters’ “precious rights” to make public nuisances out of themselves, and to tie up the police forces who should be fighting crime, and to enable thieves and anarchists night after night after night until they finally get bored with their own self-righteousness and wander off to find some other noble cause to pretend to care about.

    That’s the underlying substantive content that Trump’s Bible-toting display communicated to me today, and as much as I think that Trump is as phony as a three-dollar bill, I was glad to hear it. Let’s see if he follows through.

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    1. Trump already added fuel to the fire with his “when the looting starts the shooting starts comment.” He’s not going to make anything better. He just does not have the skills and leadership requires to bring calm and social harmony. His whole presidency has been doing the exact opposite.

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      1. He held that Bible lIke it was something he had never held before (and I definitely believe THAT branding!)

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  4. Looking at this from Europe, I am amazed that the government of a Western country would allow such violent and mindless mayhem to continue for as long as this appears to be going on. Chaos, violence, criminal damage to property, destruction and/or vandalism of historic buildings are not elements of a well-ordered, functioning, democratic system. It appears to me that the very foundation of US democracy is in disarray, and has been for quite a while, too. To an outsider this looks like a systemic breakdown of civil society, no less. Mind you, the signs were already in the air: the PC brigade holding sway inside and outside academia, the media overwhelmingly in favour of the (fantasist) social justice discourse with its attending perversion of vocabulary (equity, inclusion, diversity, equal opportunities and similar slogan words are nothing but misnomers for a dark subversion of the very foundation of democracy: if he were alive, Orwell would have a field day with them), the constant erosion of free speech, the degradation of public civility, the spread of identity politics slowly but surely displacing trust in the democratic ideals, all these portend to a grim future indeed. The rioting is a symptom not of a healthy democracy vigorously expressing dissent, rather of a badly fissured society which does not share even a basic understanding of itself. And where America leads, the West follows, which is why I find any intellectual attempts purporting to defend, justify or explain away the present riots extremely alarming.

    As for “Demotrash” (nomen omen ?), sitting on the fence waiting to see which way to jump, standing in his/her Olympian, detached puzzlement while gazing onto the “visceral terror and panic” felt by conservatives in the face of people who seemingly would stop at nothing, I can barely imagine what kind of person he or she may be who does not have fears or misgivings in regard of such brutal, life-endangering perils. Has he/she never felt in immediate danger of losing his/her life ? I should not be so blatantly condescending or blasé towards fellow citizens who are reasonably alarmed by the incandescent turn that the current situation has taken. No judicious observer would doubt that these events are cause for dismay and consternation, not for some snide or semi-sarcastic remarks of self-induced and only superficially genuine bewilderment. One of these days the riots may be coming to a location near “Demotrash”: I wonder if he/she will be so dismissive then. If he/she is already in the midst of them and he/she does not feel fear or panic I can only pity him/her.

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    1. Avi, but you said it yourself:

      “…rather of a badly fissured society which does not share even a basic understanding of itself”. So this violence is a manifestation of a badly divided society. In this situation pretending that this violence is occurring in vacuum and has to be suppressed by overwhelming force while claiming that “intellectual attempts purporting to defend, justify or explain away the present riots [are] extremely alarming” will lead to perpetuation of the same badly divided society. One needs to address the reasons why the society is so divided. And no, it is not because some crazy SJW (and I concur that some of them are crazy) gave people some wrong ideas. Do not get me wrong, I am all for personal responsibility (to the extent that I have been called a libertarian by some of my left-wing friends). But the idea of personal responsibility should not be taken to the absurd levels where the consequences of systemic failures are instead attributed to personal shortcomings, or, as Clarissa seems to be doing, to layer of civilization just being too thin and easily disrupted, so that systemic failures would not be addressed.

      P.S. I understand why a lot of people in places like Eastern Europe or Israel are very invested in preservation of the status quo in the US. I would not bet on that being possible.

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      1. I think that it’s as simple as, “everybody was running and grabbing Nikes, so I also ran and grabbed Nikes, now I have cool Nikes, now let’s go grab something else and kick some ass, woo-hoo.”

        This is what these “protests” are about. That’s what they are always about. There are no ideological divisions or profound reasons. And there’s nothing anybody can do to stop this process other than to say, “no, you can’t take these Nikes and if you try you’ll get really beat up.”

        It’s either this or letting the mob continue looting. These are the only options. In the conflict between “I want to break the storefront window” and “I don’t want you to break the storefront window,” it all comes down to who can impose their force, not to who has a more convincing argument.

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        1. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using force to stop looting IF this occurred simultaneously with authorities speaking of their willingness to address the systemic issues, and not just in some BS “lets give some organization 25M” ways, but making some constructive suggestions. Stuff generated by Trump does not fit this description.
          I know that you do not like CNN, but there is a recent video of Houston PD chief who responds to the situation much better than Trump. (Or Biden, obviously, jeez of all people the Democrats could have chosen they have chosen Biden… )

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          1. What systemic issues, though? I’m asking completely seriously. The talking point about white cops mass murdering unarmed black people is a complete fabrication.

            We had more black people killed in Chicago over one weekend than the unarmed blacks killed by police in a whole year. Of course, even more unarmed whites were killed by police but it’s still very tiny numbers, in single digits. Each life is precious, etc, but to call this a systemic problem, honestly, is a vast exaggeration.

            We do have a systemic problem with hang violence in Chicago and St Louis that is really destroying black neighborhoods but, curiously, there are never any rallies or protests about that. We had a deadliest spate of shootings – all black victims – in a decade just a couple of weeks ago. Did you hear about it? Did anybody who isn’t local?

            This is a systemic issue. George Floyd is an isolated, extremely rare tragedy.

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            1. “This is a systemic issue. George Floyd is an isolated, extremely rare tragedy.”

              Pretty obvious that ‘progressives’ are using the word “systemic” because it has three syllables and sounds learned – only a tiny minority would know the first thing about systems theory or Talcott Parsons/Karl Deutsch. It also used as a short-form to imply that all ‘whites’ enjoy ‘white privilege’ in a ‘system’ of racial oppression by the mere fact of their skin colour. Evidence or logic – asking them to distinguish between an individual who is racist and actual systemic racism – sadly can’t convince many in the face of at least two decades of intense brainwashing.

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    2. “It appears to me that the very foundation of US democracy is in disarray, and has been for quite a while, too… Mind you, the signs were already in the air…”

      Great post, your list of “the signs” is a great summary of why the US and other western liberal democratic polities are currently “in disarray.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Trump branding. Use of the Bible might work until the Bishop condemns it as abuse of the Bible. Trump endorses violence, which should be abhorrent to conservatives as it destroys their precious possessions — and abhorrent to genuine followers of almost every religion. And the person who moved to New York for the sake of the children was still correct. New York has seen far worse and still has so much to offer.

    No society has every survived by commanding allegiance at the point of a bayonet. Nor has any economy flourished via civil war. The path that Trump and the extremists advocate is in fact the Road to Ruin. For all of us.

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    1. My facebook is admittedly skewed to the left. But I am seeing some religious people (whom someone may consider natural Trump supporters) being very unhappy with the police clearing up the area around the church at the time when the protest was not violent just for Trump to have the photo-op.

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      1. These non-violent protesters had tried to burn the church down and defaced the WWII memorial hours before that. It’s an example of truly Christian tolerance which I will never reach that only tear gas was used.

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    2. What bishop?? Trump isn’t Catholic. Holding the Bible as a symbolic gesture is a normal thing in protestantism. In Orthodoxy we don’t do it because it’s a liturgic religion. But protestantism is not liturgic, so they have a different relationship with the Bible.

      Is everybody a Catholic here or something?

      It’s fine, I like Catholics. I’m just wondering.

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        1. “the Episcopals have their own bishops…”

          Sure, I’ve got this one, aren’t the Episcopals all about turning the other cheek to those who bring fire accelerants to their church to try to burn it down while anathematizing those who come waving Bibles to ward off the Evil One?

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              1. I’ve lost this part of the conversation but I feel wounded. Not “I will now run around breaking windows” wounded but the quieter, more law-abiding version.

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              2. “Stay classy…”

                Appreciated, thanks – sometimes the levity police are driven to come down hard on random incidents of waggishness lest it get completely out of hand and everyone starts smiling, poking fun, and cracking bon mots at the expense of Episcopal bishops – lesson learned.

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    3. “Bishop condemns it…”

      Perhaps “the Bishop” has never read much of the Bible nor is all that familiar with the Christian tradition? Pretty sure there’s an unwritten commandment there somewhere about not looking like super-foolish by getting involved in partisan politics especially when your partisans have just tried their darndest to burn down the church you are supposed to be shepherding.

      “conservatives… precious possessions”

      Respectfully suggest you might want to re-read your Locke, Burke, and Madison if you think conservatism is “All About the Benjamins.”

      “violence… abhorrent to genuine followers of almost every religion”

      Again, some additional reading here might help clear up some misapprehensions: suggest you focus on ‘just war’ and ‘jihad’ for starters – (anyway, directly to your point, isn’t Orange Man Bad trying to put a stop to the violent looters and insurrectionists?)

      “No society has every survived by commanding allegiance at the point of a bayonet…”

      Hmmm, actually… more reading clearly needed here on the development of the modern state and the Wesphalian international state system along with supplemental reading on the fall of the Weimar Republic

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      1. you’re playing to stereotype, and actually not addressing anything I said. rather think you haven’t reread recently any of the stuff you’re throwing around either.

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    4. Ahead of Trump Bible photo op, police forcibly expel priest from St. John’s church near White House
      WASHINGTON (RNS) — Early Monday evening (June 1), President Donald Trump stood before the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Washington and held aloft a Bible for cameras.

      The photo opportunity had an eerie quality: Trump said relatively little, positioned stoically in front of the boarded-up church, which had been damaged the day before in a fire during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.

      The church appeared to be completely abandoned.

      It was, in fact, abandoned, but not by choice: Less than an hour before Trump’s arrival, armored police used tear gas to clear hundreds of peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square park, which is across the street from the church.

      Authorities also expelled at least one Episcopal priest and a seminarian from the church’s patio.

      “They turned holy ground into a battleground,” said the Rev. Gini Gerbasi.

      Gerbasi, who serves as rector at a different St. John’s Episcopal Church, in nearby Georgetown, arrived at St. John’s Lafayette earlier that day with what she said were at least 20 other priests and a group of laypeople. They were organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to serve as a “peaceful presence in support of protesters.”

      The volunteers and clergy offered water, snacks and hand sanitizer to demonstrators who were gathered in Lafayette Park across the street — which sits directly in front of the White House — to denounce racism and police brutality after the death of Floyd.

      But sometime after 6 in the evening, when volunteers were packing up supplies, Gerbasi said police suddenly began to expel demonstrators from the park — before the 7 p.m. curfew announced for Washington residents earlier in the day.

      “I was suddenly coughing from the tear gas,” she said. “We heard those explosions and people would drop to the ground because you weren’t sure what it was.”

      The Rev. Glenna J. Huber, rector of the Church of the Epiphany, another downtown Washington church, was at St. John’s but left as the National Guard arrived. She said she watched as police rushed into the area she had just fled. Concerned, the priest sent a frantic email to clergy at the church urging them to be careful.

      Back at St. John’s, Gerbasi said she was dressed in clerical garb and standing on church grounds as police approached.

      “I’m there in my little pink sweater in my collar, my gray hair up in a ponytail, my reading glasses on, and my seminarian who was with me — she got tear gas in her eyes,” she said.

      Gerbasi said that as she and the seminarian watched, police began to expel people from the church patio.

      “The police in their riot gear with their black shields and the whole bit start pushing on to the patio of St. John’s Lafayette Square,” she said, adding that people around her began crying out in pain, saying they had been shot with nonlethal projectiles.

      Gerbasi and others eventually fled the scene, leaving emergency medical supplies behind. By the time she reached K Street several blocks away and checked her phone, Trump was already in front of the church holding a Bible.

      “That’s what it was for: to clear that patio so that man could stand in front of that building with a Bible,” said Gerbasi.

      The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment….

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        1. Can anybody name a single dictator who’d allow marauding crowds to run around for a week, unpunished and unchecked? A single one? When there were mass youth protests in Russia, Putin got everybody who was even innocently passing by arrested, beaten to a pulp, raped and jailed. And I wouldn’t even call him a dictator.

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          1. you’ve forgotten Krystalnacht? Actually as several former CIA analysts stated today, encounters like this are very typical of Third World countries when governments are being destabilized. yes, we have seen this before.

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            1. Oh, you think Trump is letting them run around on purpose! I’m not going to argue because I don’t think it’s impossible. It’s an interesting possibility to think about.

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              1. “Oh, you think Trump is letting them run around on purpose!”

                Not a chance! The looters and violent rioters have been running amock because so far Trump has turned out to be all mouth. He gave a promising law-and-order speech on Monday stating that he was going to take charge if local and state governments didn’t — but since then he’s done NOTHING about the chaos at all.

                He’s no dictator, he’s a clown.

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              2. Somehow, he always tends to turn things to his own advantage. Let’s see how this all plays out because you never know with this fellow.

                I absolutely insist – and the branding expert in my family concurs – that he’s a branding genius. If people could let go of emotions for a second and look at it strictly from the point of analysis, they would see it.

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