Recently, President Trump visited Alabama, where communities are recovering from a series of tornadoes that left 23 people dead and numerous homes destroyed. But Trump’s visit drew headlines when he signed Bibles belonging to residents at a local church.
Here’s President Trump signing Bibles for Alabama tornado survivors pic.twitter.com/cOYghebZtV
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 8, 2019
You guys… He…he signed *the covers* pic.twitter.com/bLQzVN9vcB
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) March 8, 2019
The move drew criticism online, but, as Slate notes, presidents signing Bibles isn’t as weird as you might think. The Washington Post even talked with the Smithsonian’s curator of religion Peter Manseau, who explained that President George W. Bush, FDR and President Ronald Reagan all signed Bibles during their administrations. President Barack Obama—along with Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts—reportedly signed a Bible that was once owned by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. following a request made by Dr. King’s family.
Manseau explained to The Post, “If this was an organized effort where the president was giving out stacks of signed Bibles, that would strike me as odd, to say the least, but from what I can tell the event today wasn’t outside the norm. Presidents seem to sign a lot of random things put in front of them.”