(CNN) — President Donald Trump made his second visit to a religious site in as many days on Tuesday with a visit to the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington alongside first lady Melania Trump. Afterward, Trump will sign an executive order on international religious freedom.
His photo-op outside St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House on Monday came only after protesters — and some members of the church’s clergy — were pushed back using tear gas and flash bangs. The episode drew sharp criticism from the bishop who oversees the church, who called it a “charade.”
He visited the shrine in Washington on Tuesday in part to commemorate the 100th birthday of the late Pope John Paul II, who was born on May 18, 1920. It’s also the 41st anniversary of John Paul II’s historic mass at Victory Square in Warsaw.
Melania Trump is the nation’s second Catholic first lady after Jacqueline Kennedy.
Trump has made 20 visits to churches since taking office, as well as the Inauguration Day service at St. John’s hours before he was sworn in as President. That includes 11 attendances at church services, four visits to churches after natural disasters, and one political speech at an Evangelicals for Trump coalition event earlier this year.
While he said he watched live-streams from a selection of megachurches during the coronavirus lockdown, he hasn’t attended an in-person service since he declared houses of worship essential. He attended a Christmas Eve service at a mega church in West Palm Beach, eschewing the traditional stone Episcopal church he typically attends and where he held his third wedding, due to Melania Trump receiving a Woman of Distinction award in February from a college affiliated with the church.
Before that, Trump has visited a large evangelical church in McLean, Virginia, coming directly from his golf course and wearing golf shoes. He previously went to St. John’s for a St. Patrick’s Day service and for the traditional inauguration prayer session. He’s attended Easter and Christmas services in Palm Beach.