A side-by-side comparison of the remarks of the President from last year’s National Prayer Breakfast with President Obama and this year’s Prayer Breakfast with President Trump. But of course “President Obama is not a true Christian” and “God is finally back in the White House…” Please share this with people and pastors who say such things. Full transcripts of both speeches are below.
February 04, 2016
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) You’re very kind. Thank you very much. Well, good morning.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
THE PRESIDENT: Giving all praise and honor to God for bringing us together here this morning.
I want to thank everyone who helped organize this breakfast, especially our co-chairs, Robert and Juan, who embody the tradition of friendship, fellowship, and prayer. I will begin with a confession: I have always felt a tinge of guilt motorcading up here at the heart of D.C.’s rush hour. (Laughter.) I suspect that not all the commuters were blessing me as they waited to get to work. (Laughter.) But it’s for a good cause. A National Prayer Brunch doesn’t have the same ring to it. (Laughter.)
And Michelle and I are extremely honored, as always, to be with so many friends, with members of Congress, with faith leaders from across the country and around the world, to be with the Speaker, Leader. I want thank Mark and Roma for their friendship and their extraordinary story, and sharing those inspiring words. Andre, for sharing his remarkable gifts.
And on this occasion, I always enjoy reflecting on a piece of scripture that’s been meaningful to me or otherwise sustained me throughout the year. And lately, I’ve been thinking and praying on a verse from Second Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
We live in extraordinary times. Times of extraordinary change. We’re surrounded by tectonic shifts in technology and in our economy; by destructive conflict, disruptions to our climate. And it all reshapes the way we work and the way we live. It’s all amplified by a media that is unceasing, and that feeds 24/7 on our ever-shrinking attention spans.
And as a student of history, I often remind people that the challenges that we face are not unique; that in fact, the threats of previous eras — civil war or world war or cold war, depressions or famines — those challenges put our own in perspective. Moreover, I believe that our unique strengths as a nation make us better equipped than others to harness this change to work for us, rather than against us.
And yet, the sheer rapidity of change, and the uncertainty that it brings, is real. The hardship of a family trying to make ends meet. Refugees fleeing from a war-torn home. Those things are real. Terrorism, eroding shorelines — those things are real. Even the very progress that humanity has made, the affluence, the stability that so many of us enjoy, far greater prosperity than any previous generation of humanity has experienced, shines a brighter light on those who still struggle, reveal the gap in prospects that exist for the children of the world.
And that gap between want and plenty, it gives us vertigo. It can make us afraid, not only of the possibility that progress will stall, but that maybe we have more to lose. And fear does funny things. Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different, or lead us to try to get some sinister “other” under control. Alternatively, fear can lead us to succumb to despair, or paralysis, or cynicism. Fear can feed our most selfish impulses, and erode the bonds of community.
It is a primal emotion — fear — one that we all experience. And it can be contagious, spreading through societies, and through nations. And if we let it consume us, the consequences of that fear can be worse than any outward threat.
For me, and I know for so many of you, faith is the great cure for fear. Jesus is a good cure for fear. God gives believers the power, the love, the sound mind required to conquer any fear. And what more important moment for that faith than right now? What better time than these changing, tumultuous times to have Jesus standing beside us, steadying our minds, cleansing our hearts, pointing us towards what matters. (Applause.)
His love gives us the power to resist fear’s temptations. He gives us the courage to reach out to others across that divide, rather than push people away. He gives us the courage to go against the conventional wisdom and stand up for what’s right, even when it’s not popular. To stand up not just to our enemies but, sometimes, to stand up to our friends. He gives us the fortitude to sacrifice ourselves for a larger cause. Or to make tough decisions knowing that we can only do our best. Less of me, more of God. And then, to have the courage to admit our failings and our sins while pledging to learn from our mistakes and to try to do better.
Certainly, during the course of this enormous privilege to have served as the President of the United States, that’s what faith has done for me. It helps me deal with the common, everyday fears that we all share. The main one I’m feeling right now is that our children grow up too fast. (Laughter.) They’re leaving. (Laughter.) That’s a tough deal. (Laughter.) And so, as a parent, you’re worrying about will some harm befall them, how are they going to manage without you, did you miss some central moment in their lives. Will they call? (Laughter.) Or text? (Laughter.) Each day, we’re fearful that God’s purpose becomes elusive, cloudy. We try to figure out how we fit into his broader plan. They’re universal fears that we have, and my faith helps me to manage those.
And then my faiths helps me to deal with some of the unique elements of my job. As one of the great departed heroes of our age, Nelson Mandela, once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it… The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
And certainly, there are times where I’ve had to repeat that to myself while holding this office. When you hear from a parade of experts, just days after you’re elected, that another Great Depression is a very real possibility — that will get your attention. (Laughter.) When you tell a room full of young cadets that you’ve made a decision to send them into harm’s way, knowing that some of them might not return safely — that’s sobering. When you hold in your arms the mothers and fathers of innocent children gunned down in their classroom — that reminds you there’s evil in the world. And so you come to understand what President Lincoln meant when he said that he’d been driven to his knees by the overwhelming conviction that he had no place else to go.
And so like every President, like every leader, like every person, I’ve known fear. But my faith tells me that I need not fear death; that the acceptance of Christ promises everlasting life and the washing away of sins. (Applause.) If Scripture instructs me to “put on the full armor of God” so that when trouble comes, I’m able to stand, then surely I can face down these temporal setbacks, surely I can battle back doubts, surely I can rouse myself to action.
And should that faith waver, should I lose my way, I have drawn strength not only from a remarkable wife, not only from incredible colleagues and friends, but I have drawn strength from witnessing all across this country and all around this world, good people, of all faiths, who do the Lord’s work each and every day, Who wield that power and love, and sound mind to feed the hungry and heal the sick, to teach our children and welcome the stranger.
Think about the extraordinary work of the congregations and faith communities represented here today. Whether fighting global poverty or working to end the scourge of human trafficking, you are the leaders of what Pope Francis calls “this march of living hope.”
When the Earth cleaves in Haiti, Christians, Sikhs, and other faith groups sent volunteers to distribute aid, tend to the wounded, rebuild homes for the homeless.
When Ebola ravaged West Africa, Jewish, Christian, Muslim groups responded to the outbreak to save lives. And as the news fanned the flames of fear, churches and mosques responded with a powerful rebuke, welcoming survivors into their pews.
When nine worshippers were murdered in a Charleston church basement, it was people of all faiths who came together to wrap a shattered community in love and understanding.
When Syrian refugees seek the sanctuary of our shores, it’s the faithful from synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches who welcome them, the first to offer blankets and food and open their homes. Even now, people of different faiths and beliefs are coming together to help people suffering in Flint.
And then there’s the most — less spectacular, more quiet efforts of congregations all across this country just helping people. Seeing God in others. And we’re driven to do this because we’re driven by the value that so many of our faiths teach us -– I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. As Christians, we do this compelled by the Gospel of Jesus — the command to love God, and love one another.
And so, yes, like every person, there are times where I’m fearful. But my faith and, more importantly, the faith that I’ve seen in so many of you, the God I see in you, that makes me inevitably hopeful about our future. I have seen so many who know that God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has given us power, and love, and a sound mind.
We see that spirit in people like Pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned for no crime other than holding God in his heart. And last year, we prayed that he might be freed. And this year, we give thanks that he is home safe. (Applause.)
We pray for God’s protection for all around the world who are not free to practice their faith, including Christians who are persecuted, or who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence. (Applause.) And just as we call on other countries to respect the rights of religious minorities, we, too, respect the right of every single American to practice their faith freely. (Applause.) For this is what each of us is called on to do: To seek our common humanity in each other. To make sure our politics and our public discourse reflect that same spirit of love and sound mind. To assume the best in each other and not just the worst — and not just at the National Prayer Breakfast. To begin each of our works from the shared belief that all of us want what’s good and right for our country and our future.
We can draw such strength from the quiet moments of heroism around us every single day. And so let me close with two such stories that I’ve come to know just over the past week.
A week ago, I spoke at a ceremony held at the Israeli Embassy for the first time, honoring the courage of people who saved Jews during the Holocaust. And one of the recipients was the grandson — or the son of an American soldier who had been captured by the Nazis. So a group of American soldiers are captured, and their captors ordered Jewish POWs to identify themselves. And one sergeant, a Christian named Roddie Edmonds, from Tennessee, ordered all American troops to report alongside them. They lined up in formation, approximately 200 of them, and the Nazi colonel said, “I asked only for the Jewish POWs,” and said, “These can’t all be Jewish.” And Master Sergeant Edmonds stood there and said, “We are all Jews.” And the colonel took out his pistol and held it to the Master Sergeant’s head and said, “Tell me who the Jews are.” And he repeated, “We are all Jews.” And faced with the choice of shooting all those soldiers, the Nazis relented. And so, through his moral clarity, through an act of faith, Sergeant Edmonds saved the lives of his Jewish brothers-in-arms. (Applause.)
A second story. Just yesterday, some of you may be aware I visited a mosque in Baltimore to let our Muslim-American brothers and sisters know that they, too, are Americans and welcome here. (Applause.) And there I met a Muslim-American named Rami Nashashibi, who runs a nonprofit working for social change in Chicago. And he forms coalitions with churches and Latino groups and African Americans in this poor neighborhood in Chicago. And he told me how the day after the tragedy in San Bernardino happened, he took his three young children to a playground in the Marquette Park neighborhood, and while they were out, the time came for one of the five daily prayers that are essential to the Muslim tradition. And on any other day, he told me, he would have immediately put his rug out on the grass right there and prayed.
But that day, he paused. He feared any unwelcome attention he might attract to himself and his children. And his seven year-old daughter asked him, “What are you doing, Dad? Isn’t it time to pray?” And he thought of all the times he had told her the story of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rabbi Robert Marx, and 700 other people marched to that very same park, enduring hatred and bigotry, dodging rocks and bottles, and hateful words, in order to challenge Chicago housing segregation, and to ask America to live up to our highest ideals.
And so, at that moment, drawing from the courage of men of different religions, of a different time, Rami refused to teach his children to be afraid. Instead, he taught them to be a part of that legacy of faith and good conscience. “I want them to understand that sometimes faith will be tested,” he told me, “and that we will be asked to show immense courage, like others have before us, to make our city, our country, and our world a better reflection of all our ideals.” And he put down his rug and he prayed. (Applause.)
Now, those two stories, they give me courage and they give me hope. And they instruct me in my own Christian faith. I can’t imagine a moment in which that young American sergeant expressed his Christianity more profoundly than when, confronted by his own death, he said “We are all Jews.” (Applause.) I can’t imagine a clearer expression of Jesus’s teachings. I can’t imagine a better expression of the peaceful spirit of Islam than when a Muslim father, filled with fear, drew from the example of a Baptist preacher and a Jewish rabbi to teach his children what God demands. (Applause.)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I pray that by His grace, we all find the courage to set such examples in our own lives — not just during this wonderful gathering and fellowship, not just in the public piety that we profess, but in those smaller moments when it’s difficult, when we’re challenged, when we’re angry, when we’re confronted with someone who doesn’t agree with us, when no one is watching. I pray, as Roma* so beautifully said, that our differences ultimately are bridged; that the God that is in each of us comes together, and we don’t divide.
I pray that our leaders will always act with humility and generosity. I pray that my failings are forgiven. I pray that we will uphold our obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation — this beautiful planet. I pray that we will see every single child as our own, each worthy of our love and of our compassion. And I pray we answer Scripture’s call to lift up the vulnerable, and to stand up for justice, and ensure that every human being lives in dignity.
That’s my prayer for this breakfast, and for this country, in the years to come.
May God bless you, and may He continue to bless this country that we love. (Applause.)
9:55 A.M. EST
February 2, 2017
TRUMP: Thank you, Mark. So nice.
Thank you very much, thank you. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you very much, it’s a great honor to be here this morning. And so many faith leaders — very, very important people to me — from across our magnificent nation, and so many leaders from all across the globe. Today we continue a tradition begun by President Eisenhower some 64 years ago.
This gathering is a testament to the power of faith and is one of the great customs of our nation. And I hope to be here seven more times with you.
I want very much to thank our co-chair Senator Boozman and Senator Coons. And all of the congressional leadership; they’re all over the place. We have a lot of very distinguished guests. And we have one guest who was just sworn in last night, Rex Tillerson, secretary of state.
Gonna do a great job.
Some people didn’t like Rex because he actually got along with leaders of the world. I said, no, you have to understand that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. He’s respected all over the world and I think he’s going to go down as one of our great, great secretaries.
We appreciate it.
Thank you, thank you, Rex.
Thank you as well to Senate Chaplain Barry Black, for his moving words. And I don’t know Chaplain whether or not that’s an appointed position — is that an appointed position? I don’t even know if you’re Democrat or if you’re Republican, but I’m appointing you for another year, the hell with it.
And I think it’s not even my appointment, it’s the Senate’s appointment, but we’ll talk to them. You’re very — you’re — your son is here. Your job is very, very secure. OK?
Thank you, Barry. Appreciate it very much.
I also want to thank my great friends the Roma. Where’s Roma, beautiful Roma Downey, the voice of an angel. She’s got the voice — every time I hear that voice; it’s so beautiful. That — everything is so beautiful about Roma, including her husband because he’s a special, special friend. Mark Burnett for the wonderful introduction.
So true, so true. I said to the agent, I’m sorry, the only thing wrong — I actually got on the phone and fired him myself because he said, you don’t want to do it, it’ll never work, it’ll never, ever work, you don’t want to do it. I said, listen. When I really fired him after it became the number one show, it became so successful and he wanted a commission and he didn’t want to this.
That’s when I really said — but we had tremendous success on The Apprentice. And when I ran for president, I had to leave the show. That’s when I knew for sure that I was doing it. And they hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place. And we know how that turned out.
The ratings went down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster and Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again. And I want to just pray for Arnold if we can, for those ratings, OK?
But we’ve had an amazing life together the last 14, 15 years. And a — an outstanding man and thank you very much for introducing. Appreciate it. It’s a great honor.
TRUMP: I also want to thank my dear friend, Vice President Mike Pence, who has been incredible.
And incredible wife, Karen.
And every time I was in a little trouble with something where they were questioning me, they’d say, “But he picked Mike Pence.”
“So he has to know what he’s doing.”
And it’s true, he’s been — you know on the scale of zero to 10, I rate him a 12, OK?
So I wanna thank you, thank you very much, appreciate it.
But most importantly, today I wanna 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.
No one has inspired me more in my travels than the families of the United States military. Men and women who have put their lives on the line everyday for their country and their countrymen. I just came back yesterday, from Dover Air Force Base, to join the family of Chief William “Ryan” Owens as America’s fallen hero was returned home.
Very, very sad, but very, very beautiful, very, very beautiful. His family was there, incredible family, loved him so much, so devastated, he was so devastated, but the ceremony was amazing. He died in defense of our nation. He gave his life in defense of our people. Our debt to him and our debt to his family is eternal and everlasting. “Greater love hath no man 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.
Our soldiers understand that what matters is not party or ideology or creed, but the bonds of loyalty that link us all together as one. 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.
TRUMP: I was blessed to be raised in a churched home. My mother and father taught me that to whom much is given, much is expected. I was sworn in on the very Bible from which my mother would teach us as young children, and that faith lives on in my heart every single day.
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. Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that, remember.
Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is also a right under threat all around us, and the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I’ve never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president.
The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out.
Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it. They’re tough. We have to tough. It’s time we’re going to be a little tough folks. We’re taking advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore. It’s not going to happen anymore. We have seen unimaginable violence carried out in the name of religion. Acts of wantonness (ph) (inaudible) just minorities. Horrors on a scale that defy description.
Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom. It must be stopped and it will be stopped. It may not be pretty for a little while. It will be stopped. We have seen…
And by the way, General, as you know James “Mad Dog”, shouldn’t say it in this room, Mattis, now there’s a reason they call him “Mad Dog” Mattis, never lost a battle, always wins them, and always wins them fast. He’s our new secretary of Defense, will be working with Rex. He’s right now in South Korea, going to Japan, going to some other spots. I’ll tell you what, I’ve gotten to know him really well. He’s the real deal. We have somebody who’s the real deal working for us and that’s what we need. So, you watch. You just watch.
Things will be different. We have seen peace loving Muslims brutalize, victimize, 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 of heads. Not since the Middle Ages have we seen that. We haven’t seen that, the cutting off of heads. Now they cut off the heads, they drown people in steel cages. Haven’t seen this. I haven’t seen this. Nobody’s seen this for many, many years.
TRUMP: All nations have a moral obligation to speak out against such violence. All nations have a duty to work together to confront it and to confront it viciously if we have to.
So I want to express clearly today, to the American people, that my administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land. America must forever remain a tolerant society where all face are respected and where all of our citizens can feel safe and secure.
We have to feel safe and secure. In recent days, we have begun to take necessary action to achieve that goal. Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But these are those and there are those that would exploit that generosity to undermine the values that we hold so dear. We need security.
There are those who would seek to enter our country for the purpose of spreading violence, or oppressing other people based upon their faith or their lifestyle, not right. We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our nation. You look all over the world and you see what’s happening.
So in the coming days, we will develop a system to help ensure that those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty. And that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination. We want people to come into our nation, but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and to hate our values.
We will be a safe country, we will be a free country and we will be a country where all citizens can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility or a fear of violence. America will flourish, as long as our liberty, and in particular, our religious liberty is allowed to flourish.
America will succeed, as long as our most vulnerable citizens — and we have some that are so vulnerable — have a path to success. And America will thrive, as long as we continue to have faith in each other and faith in God.
That faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas and to lock arms at home, to ensure equal rights for every man, woman and child in our land. It’s that faith that sent the pilgrims across the oceans, the pioneers across the plains and the young people all across America, to chase their dreams. They are chasing their dreams. We are going to bring those dreams back.
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. We need to carry on and to keep carrying on.
For us here in Washington, we must never, ever stop asking God for the wisdom to serve the public, according to his will. That’s why…
That’s why President Eisenhower and Senator Carlson had the wisdom to gather together 64 years ago, to begin this truly great tradition. But that’s not all they did together. Lemme tell you the rest of the story.
Just one year later, Senator Carlson was among the members of Congress to send to the president’s desk a joint resolution that added, “Under God,” to our Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a great thing.
Because that’s what we are and that is what we will always be and that is what our people want; one beautiful nation, under God.
Thank you, God bless you and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.