Biden blasts removal of protesters so Trump could be photographed in front of a church

On Tuesday, Joe Biden, former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, criticized President Trump for the clearing-out of protesters with tear gas near the White House on Monday evening so the president could be photographed in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: When peaceful protesters dispersed in order for a president-- a president-- from the doorstep of the people's house, the White House, using tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo op-- a photo op-- in one of the most historic churches in the country, or at least in Washington, DC, we can be forgiven for believing the president is more interested in power than in principle. More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.

For that's what the presidency is-- the duty to care, to care for all of us. Not just those who vote for us, but all of us. Not just our donors, but all of us. The president held up the Bible at St. John's Church yesterday. I just wish he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it.

If he opened it, he could have learned something-- that we're all called to love one another as we love ourselves. It's really hard work, but it's the work of America. Donald Trump isn't interested in doing that work. Instead, he's preening and sweeping away all the guardrails that have long protected our democracy. Guardrails that have helped make possible this nation's path to a more perfect union.

A union that constantly requires reform and rededication. And yes, the protest from voices that are mistreated, ignored, left out, or left behind. But it is a union-- a union worth fighting for. And that's why I am running for president.

In addition to the Bible, the president might also want to open the US Constitution once in a while. If he did, he'd find a thing called the First Amendment. And what it says in the beginning, it says, the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition their government for redress of grievances. That's kind of an essential notion built into this country.

Mr. President, that's America. That's America. No horses rising up on their hind legs to push back peaceful protests. Not using the American military to move against the American people. This is a nation of values. Our freedom to speak is a cherished knowledge that lives inside every American almost from the time you're a kid.

We're not allowing any president to quiet our voice. We won't let those who see this as an opportunity to sow chaos throw up a smokescreen to distract us from very real legitimate grievances at the heart of these protests.