At least one senior official was sickened by President Donald Trump's photo opportunity at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops used tear gas to clear Lafayette Park of peaceful protesters Monday afternoon so the president, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, William Barr and other administration officials could walk from the White House to the historic church to pose for a photo.
"There were some aide that is thought this was an instantly iconic photo," Axios co-founder Mike Allen told MSNBC's "First Look." "They were very proud of themselves, but there were others that took a look at this picture, and you pull back the camera, Republicans I was talking to and texting with last night, they took a look at this, you pull pack the camera, and you have the president standing kind of alone in front of this boarded-up church, boarded up because of the violence that had been going on there. Someone had tried to set a fire in the basement. Is that really the story they wanted to tell?"
Allen was struck by the sight of the president walking across the street past graffiti mocking him, and he said White House officials were divided over the stunt.
"People inside, at first, they loved the idea, but we talked to one senior official who saw how badly this could play," Allen said. "They said, 'I've never been more ashamed, I was sick to my stomach.' This official said they really didn't like the victory lap that was going on among some of their fellow aides. This person said to [Axios reporter] Jonathan Swan, 'They're so proud of themselves.'"