As President Donald Trump prepared to address the Republican National Convention on Thursday, protesters in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, just north of the White House, shouted: “Burn it down.”
Video footage from Daily Caller reporter Phillip Nieto captured the protesters’ threat.
“If we don’t get [justice]…” a person on a loudspeaker shouted.
“Burn it down,” protesters in the crowd said, finishing the chant for him.
Protesters in front of St Johns Church chanting if “we don’t get it (justice) burn it down!” pic.twitter.com/KDq73c0Knj
— Phillip Nieto (@nieto_phillip) August 28, 2020
Footage from Townhall reporter Julio Rosas captured the chant from a different angle:
WARNING: One of the following videos contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive:
Protesters chant near the White House, “If we don’t get it (justice), burn it down! pic.twitter.com/urhntweEN5
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 28, 2020
In late May, St. John’s was in fact partially burned by rioters.
Built in 1816, it’s a church that every president since James Madison has visited.
The attack on St. John’s didn’t damage the sanctuary of the building, though the basement, which is used for child care, was set ablaze, and the edifice itself was vandalized.
The parish house, which contains offices and is used for gatherings, was also targeted.
After the church was set ablaze, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted the role that St. John’s played in the civil rights movement.
“I think it’s important to go through a little bit of this, but Rev. John C. Harper was the St. John’s rector many centuries ago — at least decades — centuries, and a few decades ago,” she told reporters. (Harper was rector from 1963 until 1993.)
“And here’s what he was told — he was told he needed to close St. John’s because he couldn’t leave it open for the March on Washington because, quote, ‘it might be a bloodbath.’ But he stood boldly,” McEnany said.
“He stood boldly, and he stood on the side of justice. And on the day the March on Washington happened, here’s what was sung from that church: ‘One family on Earth are we / Throughout its widest span / O help us everywhere to see the brotherhood of man.”
Those lines are from the hymn “Our Father, Thy Dear Name Doth Show.”
McEnany noted that this was the march that culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“And that church, the same church that was burning last night, here is what they said — taking that bold stance to support Martin Luther King, they said this:
‘This church building is open, as it has always been, [so] all who want to worship here. The ministry of this parish is extended to any who seek it. Our fellowship with one another has no limitations whatsoever.’
“That church supported the bold civil rights moments of the March on Washington, which began at the Lincoln Memorial,” she said.
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