Ivanka Trump ‘urged’ Trump’s Bible photo-op — which could become a ‘defining moment’ of his presidency: NYT
Ivanka and Donald Trump (NASA)

First daughter and senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump "urged" her father to take part in a controversial photo-op with a Bible according to a new report from The New York Times.

"After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action," the newspaper reported.

"He wanted to send the military into American cities, an idea that provoked a heated, voices-raised fight among his advisers. But by the end of the day, urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump, he came up with a more personal way of demonstrating toughness — he would march across Lafayette Square to a church damaged by fire the night before," the newspaper reported.

Hope Hicks was reportedly the brains behind the photo-op.

"The only problem: A plan developed earlier in the day to expand the security perimeter around the White House had not been carried out. When Attorney General William P. Barr strode out of the White House gates for a personal inspection early Monday evening, he discovered that protesters were still on the northern edge of the square. For the president to make it to St. John’s Church, they would have to be cleared out. Mr. Barr gave the order to disperse them," the newspaper reported.

"The scene of mayhem that preceded the walk — barely 1,000 feet from the symbol of American democracy — evoked images more commonly associated with authoritarian countries, but that did not bother the president, who has long flirted with overseas strongmen and has expressed envy of their ability to dominate," The Times reported. "But critics, including some fellow Republicans, were aghast at the use of force against Americans who posed no visible threat at the time, all to facilitate what they deemed a ham-handed photo opportunity featuring all white faces. Some Democratic senators used words like 'fascist' and 'dictator' to describe the president’s words and actions."

"And when the history of the Trump presidency is written, the clash at Lafayette Square may be remembered as one of its defining moments," the newspaper noted.

Read the full report.