The parish office at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., was torched as riots escalated Sunday night.
Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke was at the scene to report that the church had been vandalized with graffiti and set on fire.
“It does appear that St. John’s Church is on fire, the parish office,” Corke said. “We went downstairs, and it is on fire.”
“This is awful. We saw graffiti, once the door was broken, we saw something similar happen earlier, and as you can see there’s definitely a fire here,” he said a half-hour before the city’s 11 p.m. curfew.
Antifa is burning down the historic St. John's Church by the White House. It's completely up in flames. pic.twitter.com/VI0A2PAVBV— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 1, 2020
“It’s a sad scene. This is a beautiful church. … St. John’s Church is a landmark in many ways, so it’s very difficult to see this building go up in flames. Hopefully, they can get here and put out the fire.”
Fox News host Shannon Bream explained that the church is a place presidents have gone to for spiritual guidance in challenging moments in the nation’s history.
“Numerous presidents … have sat in those pews. They have gone there in times of national trouble, they’ve gone there for regular Sunday services. For generations presidents and their families have walked across Lafayette Park and gone and sat in the pews of St. John’s,” Bream said.
“On Inauguration Day, you’ll see them go there and have a prayer service welcoming in the new administration,” she continued.
The Metropolitan Police Department posted an alert on Twitter at midnight, notifying the public that police and the DC Fire Department were “responding to multiple fires intentionally set around the city, including at St. John’s Episcopal Church in the 1500 blk of H Street, NW, with @dcfireems. This church has been standing in our city since the early 1800s. Please avoid the area.”
The Episcopal church says on its website that it’s known as “the Church of the Presidents,” because every president since James Madison has attended a service at St. John’s. Pew 54 is reserved for presidents when they attended.