11:09 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Please be seated. To members of our Cabinet, leaders in faith and public life, and to all our distinguished guests, it is an honor for Karen and me to be with President Trump, our First Lady, and all of you here in the Rose Garden as we mark this National Day of Prayer for the third year in a row here at the White House. (Applause.)
The Bible tells us to be faithful in prayer and that the “effective and fervent prayers of a righteous [people] availeth much.” And since the founding of this nation, the American people have believed in prayer.
It is the thread that runs through every era of American history. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established a day of fasting and prayer. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, from these very grounds, urged Americans to pray so that, in his words, “the united cry of the nation [would] be heard on high and answered with blessing.”
In 1952, President Harry Truman and the Congress formally established this National Day of Prayer and set aside each year for the American people to turn to God in prayer and meditation. Ever since then, every President has issued a proclamation in honor of this great tradition. And President Donald Trump continues that tradition today. (Applause.)
As President Trump said just two years ago in this Rose Garden, in his words, “We are a nation of faith.” And I can assure you, at a time when religious belief is often marginalized and even ridiculed, in this White House, under this President, we believe in prayer. (Applause.)
In fact, the President has made a practice of opening every Cabinet meeting in prayer. In fact, he is, at this moment in time, one of only four Presidents in American history who have issued multiple proclamations calling the American people to prayer in a single year.
We believe we always do well to go to the Lord in prayer. But it seems especially important these days.
No one should ever fear for their safety in a house of worship in America or anywhere in the world. (Applause.) And yet, we live in a time when we have witnessed unspeakable attacks on people of faith: at a synagogue in California, just a few short days ago; at mosques in New Zealand; at historically black churches in Louisiana that we’ll be visiting tomorrow.
As Americans, we mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those grieve. And we condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. (Applause.)
But on this National Day of Prayer, the American people, and people of every faith in this country, can be confident they have a champion and a defender of faith and religious liberty in President Donald Trump. (Applause.) It’s true.
From early in this administration, President Trump has taken steps to ensure that the federal government will never, ever penalize anyone for their religious beliefs ever again. (Applause.)
Today, the President will announce even more steps to acknowledge the vital role that people of faith and faith-based organizations play in our national life.
So on behalf of our family, and as you will soon hear from the First Family, thank you for your prayers for our President, for all those who serve in authority at every level. Thank you for your prayers for our armed forces and those who serve in law enforcement and our first responders. Thank you for our teachers and religious leaders and all who lead in business and private sector across this country. And thank you for your prayers for all of the American people.
Today we pray for America. And as we pray, let’s pray with confidence, as was inscribed in those ancient words millennia ago, that if His people, who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, that He’ll do like He’s always done through the long and storied history of this nation: He’ll hear from Heaven and He’ll heal this land, this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you for joining us for this National Day of Prayer. (Applause.) God bless you all. And God bless America.
11:15 A.M. EDT