The U.S. will “never rest” until it finishes the job of defeating the Islamic State, the brutal terrorist army in Iraq and Syria, President Donald Trump said Thursday in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“It’s much harder to stab someone in the back after you’ve prayed for them.”—@SenatorLankford
“For years ISIS had brutally tortured and murdered Christians, Jews, religious minorities, and countless Muslims,” Trump told the annual gathering of leaders in religion and government at the Hilton Hotel in Washington.
“Today, the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and all throughout Syria,” the president said of the Islamist army, echoing a passage of his recent State of the Union address.
“Much work will always remain, but we will never rest until that job is completely done.”
Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews gathered to pray in hopes of bridging the partisan divide and building on the progress made in the last year.
The National Prayer Breakfast has been an annual event since 1953, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. Organizers changed the name from the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in 1970.
Guests this year included House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.; Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Army Maj. Scott Smiley, the military’s first blind active-duty officer; and Rwanda’s first lady, Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame.
Trump reviewed how the Founders’ religious views shaped the creation of the country, and how faith consoles and comforts during times of crisis.
He cited the massacre in Las Vegas, the shooting of Scalise last summer, the hurricanes that hit Texas and Puerto Rico, and the nation’s opioid drug epidemic.
“Families have adopted babies orphaned by the opioid epidemic and given them loving homes,” Trump said.
The theme of bridging the partisan divide in politics surfaced as Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, spoke about working with Scalise, someone with whom he disagrees “on 80 percent of most issues.”
The two lawmakers don’t differ on the end goal of helping the needy and protecting citizens, Richmond said, but “most times we disagree on how to get there.”
Scalise and Richmond said they are true friends.
When Hurricane Katrina hit their home state of Louisiana in 2005, the water knew no political boundaries, Scalise said.
“We needed to come together quickly … and help those people,” Scalise said. “We did, and we stayed close friends ever since.”
Coons and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said they hope their Christian values can help them work together.
“We haven’t been able to do a lot in a while,” Lankford joked to the audience.
Contrary to what the public believes, Lankford said in an interview with CBS News about the event, members of Congress actually meet every week in a bipartisan way. It’s at church.
“It’s much harder to stab someone in the back after you’ve prayed for them,” he quipped. “It’s not impossible, but it’s harder.”