Hoping to offer comfort in the wake of the deadly tornado that swept through the region last weekend, many of the hundred-strong congregation received a unique piece of memorabilia: a Trump-signed Bible.
Though the practice of a book-signing is usually reserved only to its author, Trump kindly obliged a 12-year-old boy’s request to sign his copy of the religious scripture.
And the gesture prompted a frenzy at the Providence Baptist Church, in Opelika, as many of the cheering crowd began waving their Bibles in the air too, hoping to have it branded with Trump’s distinctive, frenetic signature.
President Trump appeared at the Providence Baptist Church, in Opelika, on Friday. Bearing words of support and sympathy he also offered a unique range of memorabilia: signed Bibles
After signing one 12-year-old boy’s religious text, a frenzy ensued among the crowd with several others vying to have their Bibles branded with Trump’s distinctive, frenetic signature
‘I enjoyed him coming,’ church volunteer Ada Ingram said. ‘I think it’s a godsend’.
Another volunteer, Emily Pike, said the president and first lady Melania Trump signed her 10-year-old daughter’s Bible, which was decorated with pink camouflage.
‘She just reached out there and said, ‘Mr. President, would you sign this?’’ Pike told the Associated Press.
Though members of the denomination seemed delighted with their autographed texts, the internet’s reaction provided a stark contrast.
Many accused Trump of being a hypocrite, claiming his political policies are a perfect contradiction to the religious teachings he was writing over.
Others berated the perceived arrogance of his gesture, accusing the President of touting the religious book as if it was of his own workings.
‘I seriously cannot imagine the absolute outrage and round-the-clock coverage this would’ve earned if President Obama went around signing Bibles. My God,’ said author Jennifer Hayden.
Others too waded in with their outrage, insisted Trump’s predecessor would’ve been treated differently
But among the litany of fervor, some Tweeters couldn’t resist poking fun at the president.
‘In Trump’s defense, he wrote as much of the Bible as Art of the Deal,’ jibed journalist Judd Legum.
‘People don’t understand the purpose of Trump signing Bibles,’ teased another commentor. ‘May people are without a way to prepare food after a disaster. When Trump signs a Bible, its bursts in flame and people can cook over it.’
And the 45th US President’s alleged personal affairs weren’t immune from ironic ridicule either.
‘He signed Bibles with the same hand he used — as president — to sign hush money checks to an adult filmstar,’ said former Chief of Staff to Joe Biden, Ron Klain.
‘Trump’s favorite story of the Bible is the part where Jesus pays $130,000 to keep Mary Magdalene quiet,’ added author Sarah Cooper.
It wasn’t long before the outrage was interjected by a series of tweets picking fun at the president
The U.S. president also posed for selfies and signed hats and a $100 dollar bill that a volunteer passed him at the Baptist church.
He and first lady Melania Trump spent the afternoon consoling families who lost their homes in a deadly F4 tornado that killed 23 people in Alabama on Sunday.
The pair were warmly received during their stop in the state, which supported Trump with 62. 1 percent of the vote in his successful 2016 election.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ the president said of the devastation. ‘We love you all. We love the state of Alabama.’
Outside the church the first couple honored the dead, holding a moment of silence as they stood hand-in-hand before a memorial made of crosses representing the victims of last weekend’s storms.
The U.S. president also posed for selfies and signed hats and a $100 dollar bill that a volunteer passed him at the Baptist church
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sign autographs and greet volunteers who sorted donated clothing
The Trumps were visiting Alabama on their way to Florida, where they are spending the weekend at Mar-a-Lago and raising money for the president’s reelection campaign.
Donald and Melania Trump arrived in Alabama early Friday afternoon via helicopter after landing in Air Force One in nearby Georgia. Their aerial tour lasted approximately 25 minutes, and afterward, the president told victims that federal emergency managers will stay as long as they need to.
‘It’s hard to believe actually,’ he told reporters during a walking tour of the devastation. ‘We saw things you wouldn’t believe.’
He said that FEMA had done an ‘A plus job’ managing recovery efforts so far.
Tornadoes blitzed Alabama last weekend, killing 23 people, and ransacking parts of Georgia, where the Trumps first landed.
Greeting them on the tarmac was the state’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, and Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, greeted the president at the Auburn airfield and accompanied them on a walking tour of the community most-heavily affected.
‘The governor has done an incredible job,’ the president told reporters amid his tour of Beauregard, the Alabama neighborhood hit hardest.
Ivey told the president ‘we’re stronger together’ and thanked him for him for taking the time to visit.
He told reporters as he left the White House on Friday, ‘I’ll be meeting with Governor Ivey. The people of Alabama, they got hit very hard by the tornadoes.
‘We’re stopping there, then we’re going to Florida. And we’re going to do a lot of work. We’ll be working very hard,’ he said.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump spent the afternoon consoling families who lost their homes in a deadly tornado that struck Alabama
They held a moment of silence at a memorial made of crosses and Providence Baptist Church in Beauregard, Alabama
The president hugged family members of one of the storm victims as he toured a Beauregard neighborhood with Melania
‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ the president said of the devastation after his storm tour on foot
Marine One carrying President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump takes an aerial tour of the area
The Trumps toured the Beauregard neighborhood after, where they met the family of Sheila Creech and Marshall Lynn Grimes
Family members shared with the president and first lady, showing them Grimes’ motorcycle vest and his bible
The Trumps survey the damage with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (L), Housing and Urban Develoment Secretary Ben Carson, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Alabama lawmakers and FEMA officials in Beauregard
First lady Melania Trump and the couple’s son, Barron, were on the trip with the president. They left the White House just before 10 am from the residential entrance, after the president took questions from the press on the sentencing of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a myriad of other subject.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen joined them for the flight down to Alabama. Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Mike Rogers, both of whom were Alabama Republicans, also flew down with the Trumps.
Following the aerial tour of the damage that the group made via helicopter over Georgia and Alabama, the president and first lady met with survivors of the Lee County tornado and received a briefing from Kathy Carson, the county’s emergency manager.
The Trumps toured the Beauregard neighborhood, where they met the family of Sheila Creech and Marshall Lynn Grimes.
Creech fled Panama City after Hurricane Michael in October of 2018 and relocated to Beauregard, where the White House says she was living with Grimes.
Grimes’s daughter is in the hospital and her friend, Taylor Thornton, 10, died at the home during the tornado. The Trumps were to meet with son Chris Grimes and his wife Denise, as well as the deceased’s brother David and his wife Kristen.
Family members shared with the president and first lady, showing them Grimes’ motorcycle vest and his bible. The president hugged the grieving family members.
He told reporters that he recognized the wreckage from his flyover in Marine One.
‘I saw this. And it’s hard to believe,’ the president said. ‘You saw things that you wouldn’t believe.’
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sign autographs and greet volunteers who sorted donated clothing
President Trump arrives in Georgia on his way to Alabama to view tornado wreckage on Friday afternoon
WE’RE HERE: The president and first lady deplane from Air Force Oneat Fort Benning in Georgia
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty greets the Trumps at Lawson Army Airfiel at Fort Benning
Also on their list of stops was the home of Susanne and John Polk, who was in the hospital when the tornado hit. The White House said that Mrs. Polk had left her home to visit her husband when she was informed that a tornado had just hit the area.
A member of the Beauregard Volunteer Fire Department, she aided in the search and rescue of the community.
The Trumps were scheduled to visit with another survivor of the tornado, Tamatha ‘Tammy’ Cardwell, who was at home when the weather event took place, and her husband James ‘Jim’ Cardwell.
The president said Tuesday that he would review the wreckage himself on Friday.
‘It’s been a tragic situation,’ Trump said at a White House event on Tuesday. ‘But a lot of good work is being done. I’m in constant touch with the governor and also the governor of Georgia.’
He said Friday, as he thanked volunteers, ‘We couldn’t get here fast enough.
‘I wanted to come the day it happened,’ he told them at the makeshift operation at Providence Baptist Church.
A woman holds up a sign showing off her support for the nation’s president as he tours an Alabama community
Areas residents are seen from the media van in the motorcade of the president on its way to Beauregard
President Donald Trump comforts people among devastation and debris in Beauregard on Friday afternoon
President Donald Trump is greeted by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey upon his arrival in Alabama
President Donald Trump waves as he boards his motorcade as he leaves Auburn airport
The president and first lady leave the White House on Friday morning for their trip down south
President Donald Trump, son Barron and first lady Melania Trump prepare to board Air Force One as they depart from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
President Trump and Melania Trump arrive in Palm Beach aboard Air Force One
President Trump said Monday that he had directed federal emergency managers ‘to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes’ that injured nearly 100 people.
He told reporters Friday that FEMA had ‘done and incredible job’ and thanked emergency managers for their efforts.
The first lady made no public comments but shared photos of her family arriving at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington for their flight on Air Force One from the air.
‘On our way to visit the great people of Alabama!’ she said.
They arrived at Fort Benning’s Lawson Army Airfield in Air Force One and traveled to Auburn University Regional Airport across the border in Alabama after that.
After spending several hours in the area, the Trumps left late Friday afternoon for Palm Beach, where the president has two evening events.
Donald Trump is participating in a joint fundraising committee roundtable and reception for Trump Victory, a Republican National Committee operation working in tandem with his 2020 reelection campaign, on Friday evening.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and RNC Finance Chair Todd Ricketts are co-hosts of the closed-press event.
The fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago is Trump’s first major money-raising event of the calendar year. He is running for a second term with the party’s backing.