Trump credits people of faith for 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer Breakfast

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Delivering a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday, President Trump stumbled while reading from a teleprompter and unintentionally credited “people of faith” for the “abolition of civil rights.”

“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 at the Washington Hilton.

Afterward, reports circulated that Trump’s speech script referred to the “abolition of slavery and civil rights.” Slavery ended with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, a movement that was inspired and led by Christian preachers in the Northern states. Churches in the slaveholding South were mostly silent in the years leading up to the Civil War, or actively supported slavery as consistent with their interpretation of the Bible.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, aimed at ending segregation and Jim Crow laws, also enlisted many faith leaders, both white and black.

President Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Trump’s flub was noted on Twitter, though it’s unclear whether anyone in the room caught it.

Trump did receive a standing ovation from most of the crowd when he talked about abortion.

“All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God,” he said. “Every life is sacred and every soul is a precious gift from heaven.”

It was Trump’s third annual speech to the National Prayer Breakfast. At his first, in 2017, the president veered off script to ask those in attendance to pray for better ratings for Arnold Schwarzenegger as the host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” an ironic way of calling attention to the fact that ratings “went right down the tubes” after Trump left the show.

“I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings,” the president said.

The show was canceled later that year.

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