First things first: Trump did awkwardly hold up a Bible last year outside the White House and it was pretty cringeworthy.
The media narrative, however, was that he had cleared protesters out of nearby Lafayette Square and St. John's Church so that he could have said photo op, and the media drove home the story for weeks to they could paint him as a fascist dictator.
Turns out, like so many things these days, it was all a lie:
If you don't remember the incident, here's a recap from all the talking heads:
It was then strategically used by politicians like Joe Biden to sway public opinion:
Here's what actually happened:
The U.S. Department of Interior's Office of the Inspector General has released its findings of a probe into law enforcement's actions on June 1 of last year, when police removed protesters from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., ahead of then-President Donald Trump's stroll through the area to St. John's Church, which was damaged after protesters set it on fire.
The watchdog's review found that authorities made the decision to clear out the park in order to install fencing amid ongoing rioting in the area following the death of George Floyd, and not for the purpose of allowing the president a photo op as many Trump critics claimed at the time.
Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt's report explains that on June 1, 2020, the Secret Service and United States Park Police decided to clear protesters from Lafayette Park in order to allow a contractor to install antiscale fencing the Secret Service obtained that morning.
The Secret Service wanted to make the perimeter around the square more secure, after "at least 49 USPP officers were injured while policing the protests" in the area just from May 30 to 31.
"We found that the USPP had the authority and discretion to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding areas on June 1," the report states, adding, "The evidence we obtained did not support a finding that the USPP cleared the park to allow the President to survey the damage and walk to St. John's Church."
Watch MSNBC have to own the "L" on national TV:
Then they had to admit BLM was being violent:
Trump, who must be loving all the vindication these days, had this to say:
Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for Completely and Totally exonerating me in the clearing of Lafayette Park!
As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today's highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protesters, and other violent demonstrators.
In this instance, they tried burning down the church the day before the clearing. Fortunately, we were there to stop the fire from spreading beyond the basement—and it was our great honor and privilege to do so. Again, thank you to the Inspector General!