WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Thursday outlined the importance of faith in American society in a speech that at times mirrored his State of the Union address from earlier this week.
“I will never let you down, I can say that,” Trump told the crowd at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
The president proceeded to list his administration’s accomplishments and goals.
But those words were quickly overshadowed on social media when, in the midst of praising religion’s role in U.S. history, Trump made an apparent gaffe and celebrated the “abolition of civil rights.”
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“Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides – from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights to extending the vote for women – have been led by people of faith,” Trump said.
Twitter users quickly took notice.
Think Progress LGBTQ editor Zack Ford called it an “ironic misspeak.”
“Teleprompter problems?” pondered Independent Journal Review editor Josh Billinson.
Initially known as the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the event began in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended an already-existing prayer circle. Since then, the event has provided a forum for a discussion on the role of faith in politics.
Trump, who courted evangelicals and religious conservatives during the 2016 presidential election, discussed the importance of faith for political leaders dealing with problems that range from the opioid epidemic to the rogue regime of North Korea.
The president delighted religious conservatives by using his State of the Union address on Tuesday to call for a ban on late-term abortions. The issue has returned to the forefront of national politics as advocates on both sides prepare for the Supreme Court to potentially alter the precedent set in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” Trump said on Tuesday. “And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.”
He repeated that statement Thursday, adding, “Every life is sacred and every soul is a precious gift from heaven.” The audience erupted in applause.
More: Here’s why Donald Trump attacked abortion in his State of the Union address