A cursory search of the headlines following President Donald Trump’s National Prayer Breakfast address last Thursday might leave some assuming that he merely delivered meandering remarks about “The Apprentice” and the show’s host Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And, yes, Trump certainly did bring up his successor’s ratings and jokingly implored the audience to “pray” for Schwarzenegger — quips that followed a long introduction speech from “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett.
Now, considering that Burnett spent the bunk of his time on the stage sharing details about how he and Trump met 15 years ago and proceeded to create the successful “Apprentice” franchise, the president’s comments about his former reality show weren’t all that shocking — or, at the least, they didn’t come entirely out of left field.
See a sample list of just some of the Trump prayer breakfast headlines below:
Either way, Trump also brought up a plethora of other topics during the prayer breakfast — subjects that are certainly worthy of more attention than his Schwarzenegger and “The Apprentice” remarks received.
So, since much of the media mainly focused on and led with “The Apprentice” quips, let’s take a quick look at six of the most shocking, intriguing and unexpected moments from Trump’s National Prayer Breakfast address:
1) Whether people believe Trump was being sincere is up to them, but he did openly praise the power of prayer during his remarks:
“Most importantly today, I want to thank the American people. Your faith and prayers have sustained me and inspired me through some very, very tough times. All around America, I have met amazing people whose words of worship and encouragement have been a constant source of strength. What I hear most often as I travel the country are five words that never, ever fail to touch my heart. That’s: ‘I am praying for you.’ I hear it so often — ‘I am praying for you, Mr. President.'”
2) Trump also quoted from the Bible (John 15:13) while speaking about sacrifices military members often make, specifically their willingness to put their lives on the line to defend the country they love and serve:
“‘Greater love hath no (one) than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ We will never forget the men and women who wear the uniform, believe me. … From generation to generation, their vigilance has kept our liberty alive. Our freedom is won by their sacrifice, and our security has been earned with their sweat and blood and tears. God has blessed this land to give us such incredible heroes and patriots. They are very, very special, and we are going to take care of them.”
3) And it didn’t end there, as the president also seemed to decry materialism, though that, too, came along with critique, as some didn’t quite see his comments as genuine. Either way, Trump elevated the importance of spirituality and family above possessions (read more about that here):
America is a nation of believers. In towns all across our land, it’s plain to see what we easily forget — so easily we forget this — that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success. I will tell you that. And I tell you that from somebody that has had material success and knows tremendous numbers of people with great material success — the most material success. Many of those people are very, very miserable, unhappy people. And I know a lot of people without that, but they have great families, they have great faith. They don’t have money — at least not nearly to the extent — and they’re happy. Those to me are the successful people, I have to tell you.
4) Trump also tried to strike a uniting tone, recognizing that not everyone at the National Prayer Breakfast was a Christian. In a key portion of his remarks, he also spoke to the existence of a human soul and peppered in a message about freedom and government:
“The people in this room come from many, many backgrounds. You represent so many religions and so many views. But we are all united by our faith in our Creator and our firm knowledge that we are all equal in His eyes. We are not just flesh and bone and blood. We are human beings, with souls. Our Republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God. It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said, ‘The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.’ Jefferson asked, ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’
5) The president also said God offers up a sense of comfort and personal strength:
As long as we have God, we are never, ever alone. Whether it’s the soldier on the night watch or the single parent on the night shift, God will always give us solace and strength and comfort.
6) And, last but not least, despite calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration at one point during the campaign — and despite recently ushering in restrictions on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries — Trump made it a point to express his belief that terrorists have also gone after their fellow Muslims, among others:
We have seen peace-loving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers. We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people. We have seen a campaign of ISIS and genocide against Christians, where they cut off heads. Not since the Middle Ages have we seen that. We haven’t seen that, the cutting off of heads. Now they cut off their heads, they drown people in steel cages. Haven’t seen this — I haven’t seen this. Nobody has seen this for many, many years.
You can read Trump’s remarks in their entirety here.
In the end, it’s clear the contents of his speech were far more sweeping than many in the media seemed to show. Whether they are authentic, of course, is another question — and one people are free to ponder and debate.
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