The Surprising Family Member Behind This Infamous Donald Trump Photo

Apart from a handful of exclusive interviews conducted via phone and a smattering of rallies Donald Trump has organized and headlined in a possible attempt to keep his name in the headlines for 2024, the ex-president's in-person appearances have been somewhat rare since January. In a lot of ways, this makes sense, both by virtue of Trump no longer being POTUS, and his curtailed means of making his opinion known. While Trump may or may not have access to post on social media freely in the near future by way of Social Truth, his new social media app-in-the-making, it seems many are still digging into some of his controversial past media appearances.

With the publication of his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' recent Trump tell-all, "The Chief's Chief," there's one past appearance, in particular, that's been making the rounds. The incident in question? A photo op from June 2020 that featured Trump holding a bible outside of a Washington, D.C. church, which many at the time criticized for having peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors tear-gassed in order to clear the area for the photoshoot, per Vanity Fair. Prior to Meadows' own account of the events, the identity of the person who came up with the idea in the first place was somewhat nebulous. However, according to the ex-White House staffer, the person responsible for the photoshoot outside St. John's Church was not only someone close to Trump, but a member of his family.

The Donald Trump bible photo op was all Ivanka's idea

Mark Meadows credited Donald Trump's daughter and former senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, with the idea to have Trump photographed outside of St. John's while holding a bible, according to The Washington Post. Per Meadows' account, Ivanka first latched onto the idea after receiving word that the church's basement had caught on fire. As Meadows put it, Ivanka then suggested the president, who had planned to deliver a nationally televised speech at the time, "give his address in the Rose Garden as planned, and then lead a group of his closest aides and advisors over to St. John's Church, where he would deliver a short message to the American people." It was then that Trump would be photographed while holding a Bible (pictured above).

Unfortunately for Ivanka, the speech, which was meant to signal to Americans that "law and order would prevail" and "send a message to people of faith" — or, as is likely in this case, a Christian-practicing portion of the president's base who opposed BLM — didn't work out as planned. As Vanity Fair noted, the photo-op was heavily criticized for utilizing violence against peaceful, anti-racist protestors. Shortly after the shoot concluded, Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer heavily castigated Trump's cohort. "Tear-gassing peaceful protesters without provocation just so that the president could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us," they wrote in a statement.