President Trump, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, declared the U.S. a “nation of believers” as he told listeners that God’s grace could be seen in every facet of American society.
“America is a nation of believers and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer,” he said in Washington, D.C.
Noting that the American Founders invoked the Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence, he said that no earthly force can take away the rights found in America’s founding documents.
“Today we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American,” he said.
Trump went on to apply this to daily American life, saying that God could be seen in acts of kindness in every city and town across America
“We see the Lord’s grace in the servicemembers who risk their lives for our freedom, we see it in the teachers who work tirelessly for their students and the police who sacrifice for our communities, and sacrifice they do,” he said. “And we see the Lord’s grace in the Moms and Dads who work two and three jobs to give their children the chance for a better and much more prosperous and happier life.”
He praised first responders and citizens who rushed to help victims of hurricanes, wildfires and mass shootings, as examples of the goodness of the human soul.
Although Trump did not explicitly campaign as a religious leader, he has promoted himself as a defender of religious faith and has touted the centrality of God to American civic life. His administration’s policies, such as rolling back the ObamaCare contraception mandate, appointing pro-life judges and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel have all served to boost already strong evangelical support for the president.
In his remarks Thursday, he cited his administration’s success in beating back the Islamic State and noted that Christians suffer persecution under regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea — regimes Trump has taken a strong stance against.
He made a reference to North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho, who was a guest at Trump’s State of the Union last month, and said he repeatedly prayed the Lord’s Prayer until he was free from the totalitarian regime.
Trump offered an upbeat note when he paid tribute to nine-year-old Sophia Marie Campa-Peters, who suffers from a rare disease that causes her to suffer from regular strokes and who was warned that she may lose the ability to walk. In January, Trump had asked the nation to pray for her ahead of her surgery.
On Thursday, Trump said that the surgery had gone well.
“Today we thank God that Sofia is with us, she is recovering and she is walking very well,” he said. “You may only be nine years old but you already a hero to all of us in this room and all over the world.”
He said that such examples across America should serve as glimpses of God’s presence.
“As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open our hearts to God’s love, then America will forever be land of the free, the home of the brave and the light unto all nations,” he said.