The White House has been condemned for comparing US President Donald Trump’s visit to a church amid civil unrest with Winston Churchill’s inspection of bomb damage during the Second World War.
The Trump administration has been criticised by Democrats and several Republicans after peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared from the area around St John’s Church, in Washington DC, where the president posed and held a Bible aloft on Monday.
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 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.
Throughout the Blitz by German fighter aircraft, Sir Winston Churchill often watched the bombing raids from rooftops and he made a special effort to walk the streets in places where thousands were killed.
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.”