Hillary Clinton has accused Donald Trump of trying to “hijack” Christianity and the Bible after he posed with one outside a church during Black Lives Matter protests.
The US president was criticised after he apparently ordered security forces to fire tear gas at groups of peaceful demonstrators in order to clear a path for him to make his way from the White House to St John’s in Washington DC.
Speaking to Sky News presenter Kay Burley, Mrs Clinton said “the outcry by religious leaders… demonstrated clearly that nobody was being fooled”.
The former Democratic presidential candidate, who lost to Mr Trump in the 2016 election, also claimed he “mischaracterised” protesters who took to the streets in the US following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mr Trump had wrongly lumped millions of non-violent demonstrators in with a “tiny, tiny minority” who had committed criminal acts, she added, after he hit out at “thugs”.
She said the president’s church visit on 1 June was a “photo opportunity” and she claimed he had never read the Bible.
“He can’t tell you a single thing that’s in it,” she said.
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“That has been a pattern – he’s tried to hijack Christianity and the Bible in ways that are deeply hypocritical and that was just another occasion.”
She criticised the president for calling protesters during the anti-racism demonstrations across the US “thugs”.
She said: “They were totally peaceful protesters and what he was trying to do, as he often does, is to mischaracterise them and their behaviour and their goals.
“And lump them in with the tiny, tiny minority who took advantage of a tragic moment to loot and steal and vandalise – a tiny, tiny percentage – and he wanted to cast that over the millions of very thoughtful, non-violent peaceful protesters.
“There should be no tolerance for violent protest and certainly that was not at the core of the literally millions of people who have come out to protest peacefully over the last several weeks.”
America’s top military officer recently apologised for joining Mr Trump during his church visit.
“I should not have been there,” said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a pre-recorded video address to the National Defense University.
You can see Kay’s full exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton tomorrow on Kay Burley @ Breakfast from 7am.
And you can watch the four-part series Hillary on Sky Documentaries and Now TV. That’s available right now.