White House criticised over 'obscene' comparision between Trump and Churchill

4 June 2020, 07:05

The US President made the stroll after speaking to the nation
The US President made the stroll after speaking to the nation. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The White House has come in for criticism after President Trump's visit to a church amid protests was compared to Winston Churchill's inspection of bomb damage during the Second World War.

After giving a televised press conference from the Rose Garden Donald Trump took a heavily guarded stroll to St John's Church, in Washington DC, where the president posed and held a Bible aloft on Monday.

The Trump administration also faced criticism from Democrats and several Republicans after peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared from the area to ensure the President's security while he took the short walk.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr Trump's stroll to the church the day after it was damaged by fire during protests was "like Churchill."

Read more: Protesters tear gassed so Donald Trump can have photos taken at church

Protesters were cleared by police and troops to allow the President to make the short walk
Protesters were cleared by police and troops to allow the President to make the short walk. Picture: PA

The Trump official said it was a comforting moment for Americans amid unrest spurred by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"Through all of time, we've seen presidents and leaders across the world who have had leadership moments and very powerful symbols that were important for our nation to see at any given time to show a message of resilience and determination," she said.

"Like Churchill, we saw him inspecting the bombing damage and it sent a powerful message of leadership to the British people," she said.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill often watched World War 2 German bombing raids from rooftops and he made a special effort to walk the streets in places where thousands were killed.

But now, Erik Larson, author of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, said he was disgusted by Ms McEnany's comparison.

"The comparison is worse than merely laughable; it verges on obscenity," Mr Larson tweeted.

"Churchill wept when he visited bombed neighbourhoods; he offered compassion and hope, and helped people find their courage."

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