A photo showing faith leaders laying hands on President Donald Trump and praying over him has gone viral, spawning messages of support and rebuke, alike.
It was a moment that came after about 30 faith leaders received an invitation from the White House a week and a half ago to hold a meeting this past Monday. Many of those who attended that gathering are on Trump’s faith advisory council, which he has relied to from time to time, according to The Washington Post.
The group met with Jennifer Korn, special assistant to the president, for a day-long discussion that focused on a range of issues, including health care, religious freedom, criminal justice reform and Israel, the outlet noted.
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) July 12, 2017
A photo of the group praying over Trump went viral after it was shared by faith leader and public relations expert Johnnie Moore, who was in attendance.
While some saw the photo as encouraging, others responded to Moore’s tweet with some harsh commentary aimed at Trump, his character and evangelical prayer practices more generally. Here’s just a sampling of that outrage:
Did you pray for them to become Christ like? Did you remind them to love ur/our neighbor? Take care of the least of these?
— Surprise_Island (@Surprise_Island) July 12, 2017
Or maybe they are saying over and over thou shalt not lie?
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) July 12, 2017
— kelly angard (@kreativekell) July 12, 2017
They believe in magic. They are running our country-and believe in magic. 😐
— CarolsDaughter (@CarolsDaughter9) July 12, 2017
The groper gets a laying of hands. Truly the idolization of mammon is at hand.
— David Pumpkins Ltd (@DavidEMcK59) July 12, 2017
In addition to those critiques, some also said that the photo appeared to show faith leaders specifically praying for Trump as he deals with claims that his 2016 campaign’s colluded with Russia. This was an assertion that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed on Wednesday, as Newsmax reported.
“The idea that somebody would only pray when they’re in crisis I think makes you miss the entire point of what prayer is about. You should do that every day,” she said during the day’s press briefing. “You can do that in the best of times and the worst of times. It would be ridiculous to suggest to do that in a time of crisis.”
Despite critics’ comments, Moore said the group was an informal “meeting of friends” during which faith leaders prayed that God would lead Trump and protect his family.
“He was in great spirits, as was the vice president,” Moore told The Washington Post of Trump. “He was very very much command of the situation. It felt like all was well. He was happy and joking.”