United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence joined over 700 pastors on a conference call Friday to pray for strength and stamina amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Pence told the pastors that when he informed Trump that he was going to be on the call with pastors on Friday, Trump asked if he could join despite a full schedule.
“When I told the president I was going to be speaking to all of you,” Mike explained, “[he was] in the midst of an extraordinarily busy day. [But] he looked at me and said, ‘I have to find time. I need to find time.'” To the president, he went on, “the prayers of the people on this call mean [everything] to him…” So despite everything facing America, the two most important leaders of this nation stopped everything to pray with the people on the ground, who are ministering to their communities.
In the one-hour call organized by the Christian conservative activist group Family Research Council, Trump told pastors that the outbreak “came upon us so suddenly.”
It’s a “wild world,” the president started. The virus, he said, “came upon us so suddenly. And we were doing better than we’ve ever done before as a country in terms of the economy — and then, all of the sudden, we got hit with this. So we had to close it down,” he said wistfully. “We’re actually paying a big price to close it down. Never happened before.” But, President Trump insisted, “I think we’re going to come back stronger than ever before.”
Turning to the pastors — the hundreds on the call and the 15,000 who heard it later on — the president said sincerely, “I want to thank you for praying for our country and for those who are sick. You do such an incredible job. You’re very inspirational people. And I’m with you all the way. You know that you see what we’ve done for right to life and all of the things that we’ve been working so hard together. I’ve been working with many of the people on the call. Many, many of the people. We’ve had tremendous support. But we are going to get over this.” Trump was quoted as saying by FRC President Tony Perkins.
There’s hardly a busier, more burdened man in America right now than President Trump. And yet on Friday, when he heard that Vice President Mike Pence was about to jump on an FRC conference call with 700 pastors, he asked if he could join. Hearing his voice was a surprise, even to me — but hearing his earnest desire to stand with the faith leaders of America in crisis certainly wasn’t, Perkins said.
Before leaving the call, Perkins asked the president what he’d most like people to pray for during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Trump replied by urging the pastors to pray for the “health” and “strength” of the country.
“We were doing something amazing, and then one day, it just ended. So that would be it,” Trump said, urging Americans to “make the right choice” on [election day], Nov. 3.
Pence told the pastors that he and the president “couldn’t be more inspired by the way communities of faith have been stepping up.”
According to Perkins, Pence talked about how congregations are keeping their food banks going and finding ways to work within the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pence also thanked churches for offering child care to healthcare workers on the front line of battling the coronavirus.
“You know, the president has said many times that we are going to bring the full resources of our federal government to bear on this,” the vice president said. “But by all of you being here today, and by the energies and ministries that you have [used to respond] to the coronavirus in your communities, you’re really putting hands and feet on your faith. And you are demonstrating what the president today called ‘the greatness of American character.’”
Pence said that “we want a full partnership with you in sharing best practices again.”
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also participated in the call. According to Perkins, Carson told the pastors that “God is merciful.”
“And we will get through this,” Carson assured, adding that this could be an opportunity for God to show His power in a way that will “help us return to Him.”
“God still has His hand on this nation,” Carson was quoted as saying. “And He has His hand on all of us.”
While several churches have moved services online, others have held “drive-in” worship services to maintain social distancing.
During the call, Trump, Pence and Carson encouraged churches to comply with federal guidelines. Pence thanked pastors for suspending their services during the outbreak and said that he would encourage Americans to continue giving to churches and ministries even though they may not be attending in person, Christian Post reported.
In a White House press briefing on Saturday, Pence formally urged Americans to continue giving to ministries during the outbreak.