President Donald Trump refused to read along with The Apostle’s Creed during former President George H.W. Bush’s state funeral Wednesday. The decision drew criticism from many, and CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers called it a “curious moment.”
During the funeral, Bishop Michael Curry led attendees in reciting the creed. The camera panned to the Bush family, who read along from the program. The camera then switched to the Obamas and Clintons, who also read along. In stark contrast, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were seen standing silent with their arms folded.
Several White House reporters commented on the moment, including CBS News’ Kathryn Watson and Yahoo! correspondent Jon Ward, who wrote:
Interesting moment — Trump and Melania don't utter the Apostles' Creed, while the other former presidents and former first ladies in the front row read it from their pamphlets.
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) December 5, 2018
Striking that all the former Presidents and First Ladies recited the Apostles Creed, but Trump and Melania stood silently and did not. The creeds are at the heart of historic orthodox Christianity
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) December 5, 2018
The Apostle’s Creed is a statement of Christian belief. It is widely used by many denominations, though it is seen more often in liturgical churches. The creed was printed in every bulletin at the former president’s funeral.
While some reporters were reserved in their criticism, CNN’s Keith Boykin was less so. He posted a video of the moment on Twitter, captioning it, “This is your ‘Christian’ evangelical president.”
This is your "Christian" evangelical president. pic.twitter.com/u0478FoSyR
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 5, 2018
Slate staff writer Ruth Graham added onto Boykin’s comments by writing, “This is a strange moment.” Graham went on to write, “It’s not about Trump not having memorized the creed, which is printed in the program. He’s opting not to participate in the service.”
This is a strange moment. It's not about Trump not having memorized the creed, which is printed in the program. He's opting not to participate in the service. https://t.co/SHPj9I01TD
— Ruth Graham (@publicroad) December 5, 2018
President Trump was elected by a majority Christian base. Despite this, he appeared to disregard his base during Bush’s funeral. Trump also appeared to give the Clintons the cold shoulder when he greeted the Obamas but didn’t acknowledge Bill or Hillary.