President Donald Trump got up very early Thursday to plug his National Prayer Breakfast appearance.
“Will be heading over shortly to make remarks at The National Prayer Breakfast in Washington,” he tweeted.
“Great religious and political leaders, and many friends, including T.V. producer Mark Burnett of our wonderful 14 season Apprentice triumph, will be there. Looking forward to seeing all!”
Trump kicked off Thursday morning’s prayer breakfast appearance saying how glad he was to be joined by many members of his cabinet who he said are doing a “terrific job,” adding, “I also want to thank my two great friends Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. They are two terrific people. Stand up, Mark. You deserve it – even though you come from Hollywood.”
Last year, Trump kicked off his National Prayer Breakfast address thanking Celebrity Apprentice creator/executive producer Burnett, who had introduced him. After which POTUS told those gathered for the annual breakfast how he had fired his agent, who had argued against doing the reality series, when the show became a hit and the agent wanted his commission.
“We had tremendous success on The Apprentice and, when I ran for president, I had to leave the show,” Trump told religious leaders and diplomats last year, telling them the show’s ratings “went right down the tubes” when Arnold Schwarzenegger was hired to replace him. “And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can. For those ratings. Okay?”
This year Trump’s address to the gathering was much more standard National Prayer Breakfast fare.
America, he said, is a “nation of believers and, together, we are strengthened by the power of prayer…Each year reminds us faith is central to American life and to liberty. Our founders invoked our creator four time in the Declaration of Independence. Our currency declares ‘In God We Trust.’ And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and pledge we are one nation under god.”
“No matter what, no earthly force can take those rights away. That is why the words ‘Praise Be To God’ are etched atop the Washington Monument, and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people. So today we praise god for how truly blessed we are to be American.”
He commended Americans who reached out to save those endangered by the hurricanes, wildfires, the “horrific shooting” in Las Vegas, and those who have adopted babies orphaned by the opioid epidemic. “In their selfless deeds they reveal the beauty and goodness of the human soul,” Trump said.
He again spoke of the coalition “to defeat ISIS that has liberated almost 100% of the territory just recently held by those killers in Iraq and all throughout Syria”.
“We will never rest until that job is completely done and we are really doing it like never before,” Trump boasted, referencing “millions of people in Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and other countries suffer under repressive and brutal regimes. America stands with all people suffering oppression and religious persecution.”
Russian officials attended Trump’s National Prayer Breakfast in much larger numbers than previously – about three times the number attending last year, a spokesman for the group that organizes the breakfast told reporters. The majority of them were doctors, lawyers and business leaders.