Watch: Trump makes impromptu visit to church damaged by riot fires near White House

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After a short speech in which US President Donald Trump said on Monday he was deploying thousands of heavily armed soldiers and law enforcement to halt violence in the US capital, Trump walked out of the White House with key aides and held a photo op with a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was burnt amid late-night protests.

Surrounded by dozens of security personnel, Trump walked out of the White House, across Lafayette Square and past military police officers to the historic church, which was damaged by fire amid protests on Sunday night.

He stopped in front of boarded-up windows at the yellow church, where many presidents have attended services, along with several members of his administration, including Attorney General William Barr, national security Adviser Robert O’Brien and other top aides.

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As an acrid smell still hung in the air, Trump held up a Bible for cameras and told reporters, “We have a great country. That’s my thoughts. The greatest country in the world. We’re going to make it even greater. We will make it even greater and it won’t take long. It’s not going to take long. You see what’s going on? It’s coming back. It’s coming back strong. It’ll be greater than ever before.”

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He then walked back to the White House, without taking questions from reporters.

During his speech, the president said that he was mobilizing all civilian and military resources “to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights” - a reference to the US constitutional protections for gun ownership.

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