Thursday morning brought the National Prayer Breakfast—an nonpartisan event usually dedicated to supporting the role of faith in public office. But Donald Trump, drenched in what appears to be a stupefying level of anger, used that moment to attack people for looking to their faith. And for praying.
Trump didn’t just step behind the podium to declare that “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong” in an attack on Mitt Romney, and adding in a “nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that’s not so” as a blow at Nancy Pelosi. He appended to his morning hate session a threat directed at the whole nation. “So many people have been hurt,” said Trump. “And we can’t let that go on. And I’ll be discussing that a little bit later, at the White House.”
Mark Sumner ·
If it wasn’t clear enough that Trump was issuing threats to political opponents at the National Prayer Breakfast, here is his Press Secretary, in her native habit at Fox News, to make it crystal clear.
Trump also declared that both he and the nation had been “put through a terrible ordeal” by “very dishonest and corrupt people.” Throughout the event, he spoke at a speed that is best described as glacial … and not the speedy kind of glacial. But it seemed like this drop by drop delivery wasn’t generated by the drawer full of drugs that brought sniffy, slurry Trump to the State of the Union. The better adjective here is probably seething. It almost seems as if between not getting the clean bill he expected from the end of the impeachment trial, plus hearing the gentle sound of tearing paper, it all might have broken Trump.
Trump has already made an announcement he’ll be speaking at noon, and since the White House is currently staffed by barely more than Stephen Miller and Mick Mulvaney, it’s unlikely that any “better angels” have been whispering in his ear.
Suspension of Congress? State of emergency? Firing squads at dawn? All of the above seem way, way too thinkable when watching clips of Trump’s performance.
Trump’s statements were definitely of the nonscripted, wandering all over the place variety. At one moment he seemed thankful that "Joining us for this cherished tradition are a lot of friends in the audience.” Then a moment later, that tone flipped again, “That's all I get to meet anymore. That, and the enemies, and the allies. And we have 'em all. We have allies, we have enemies. Sometimes the allies are enemies but we just don't know it."
Both Pelosi and Romney were present for these attacks. In fact, Pelosi had already offered up a prayer in opening the event. The statements from Trump were hugely out of character with the words coming from anyone else present. The level of anger and contrast with the previous tone of the morning’s events was deeply disturbing.