It was one of the most tumultuous periods of his presidency, but the week was book-ended by two things that may well secure Donald Trump's reelection - religion and the economy.

On Monday, he held aloft a bible outside a vandalised church close to the White House.

It was a controversial photo opportunity that was preceded by the heavy-handed clearing of peaceful protesters by police.

The following day, the president visited a Catholic shrine and signed an executive order on religious freedom.

It was a political move straight out of the Trump playbook - when you are in trouble, rally the support base, in this case the conservative Christians that helped him win the election four years ago.

On Friday, there was another boost for Donald Trump’s re-election bid with better than expected employment figures being released.

It led him to call an impromptu press conference, during which the US president seemed to suggest that George Floyd would have been pleased with the positive economic data.

Mr Floyd was spoken about from a different podium the night before.

At the first of a series of memorial services in Minneapolis, Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a fiery eulogy.

"Get your knee off our necks," he repeated.

George Floyd’s death under the knee of a white police officer has become a symbol of the racial division and inequality that still exists in the US.

His killing has sparked a wave of protest and unrest.

Violence, looting and vandalism coupled with the heavy-handed tactics of some police officers plunged America into crisis.

President Trump’s threat to deploy the US military to restore order heightened tensions.

There was stinging criticism from his former Defence Secretary James Mattis.

Writing in The Atlantic, Mr Mattis described the president as a threat to the constitution.

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people - does not even pretend to try," Mr Mattis wrote.

"Instead, he tries to divide us."

Donald Trump's former Defence Secretary James Mattis

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also expressed his concern, saying there had been genuine revulsion at the heavy-handed response towards peaceful protesters and journalists in the US.

"And we've witnessed the absence of moral leadership or words of understanding, comfort or healing from whence they should have come," he added.

In response, the US State Department pointed out that President Trump had described the death of George Floyd as "a grave tragedy and should never have happened".

"Although our laws provide protections against racial discrimination, discrimination and the legacy of slavery is an unfortunate part of the United States’ history and an all-too-present reality for many Americans," a State Department spokesperson said.

Yes, there have been scenes of chaos over the last week, but there have also been scenes of hope.

People of all races marched in unison.

In some cities, police officers laid down their batons and shields to pray with protesters and march alongside them.

A protester and a police officer hug during a protest in New York City

Former US president Barack Obama said he was hopeful the demonstrations would bring about real change, because this was different to previous movements.

"You look at those protests, and that was a far more representative cross-section of America out on the streets, peacefully protesting, who felt moved to do something because of the injustices that they have seen. That didn't exist back in the 1960s, that kind of broad coalition," he said.

"I can’t breathe" were George Floyd’s dying words, and it has become the rallying call of this protest movement.

Perhaps it will finally see America take a collective breath and reassess how it treats all of its citizens.