NBC Reporter Claims St. John’s Church Experienced ‘Some Vandalism.’ The Church Was Set On Fire.

NBC “hard news” reporter Tom Costello participated in a segment Thursday morning with “MSNBC Live’ anchor Stephanie Ruhle, during which he described St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., as receiving “some vandalism.”
Ruhle prefaced her question to Costello by saying it was the sixth day of protesting and said, “it seemed pretty peaceful from just looking at the pictures.” She then asked Costello: “How was it up close?”
Costello responded: “Yeah. It’s dead quiet at the moment. Let me just give you the lay of the land. Across the street here is St. John’s Church. As you know, that’s the church that had some vandalism and President Trump stood in front of with a Bible a few nights ago.”
It was more than “some vandalism.”
NBC’s local affiliate reported on the damage to the church earlier this week, also downplaying the fire at first. The article’s headline read: Historic Church Near White House Damaged Amid Unrest; Leaders Pray for Healing.” The subhead read: “St. John’s Church, known as the ‘Church of the Presidents,’ was damaged after peaceful protests near the White House took a destructive turn.”
The article began by criticizing President Donald Trump for visiting the church and addressing the country during what the article called a “photo-op.” After getting that out of the way, NBC 4 Washington explained what really happened to the church:
D.C. Firefighters found a fire in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, authorities said. A large fire also burned outside the church at one point.
The nursery was set on fire, Rector Rev. Rob Fisher said.
“The protests that began peacefully grew to something more, and eventually a fire was lit in the nursery, in the basement of Ashburton House,” Fisher said in an email to worshippers. “Protestors easily could have done a lot worse to our buildings, but they chose not to do that.”
The protective glass covering a stained-glass window was also broken, although the stained-glass itself was unharmed. Graffiti was also scrawled on the exterior of the building.
Fischer had been out of town when the fire began and rushed back to the church.
“I just assessed the damage as best I could, in the semi-dark and with a flashing, bleating alarm system that I could not figure out how to shut off. My ears are still ringing, and I am still coughing a bit from various fumes I inhaled,” he told NBC 4. “But I am happy to share with you that I could see no other real damage.”
NBC and other mainstream media outlets have downplayed the violent riots that have taken place across the country. Monuments in D.C. and Boston have been damaged and defaced, while buildings and cars have been set on fire. Businesses have been destroyed and looted and multiple police officers and protesters have been injured.
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