President Donald Trump spoke before the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voter Summit Friday morning, the first sitting president to do so.
Taking the stage just after 10 am, and before heading back toward the White House and Capitol Hill to deliver an address on Iran, Trump delivered a speech designed to appeal to the faith-based audience in attendance. He was introduced by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and was warmly received by those in the ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
Trump, thanking the “people of faith all across our nation and…the world,” outlined what he admitted was a return to values that, ostensibly, were less important to the previous administration.
“America’s a nation of believers, together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer,” Trump began, before launching into a litany of the ways in which his administration is reclaiming those lost values — using rhetoric such as calling the tragedy in Las Vegas an act of “pure evil”; defending the constitution; respecting military and first responders; returning to the roots of faith in this country; protecting religious liberty and the rights of the unborn; etc.
The president was greeted with standing ovations several times during his address, with particularly loud outpourings of appreciation following his mention of the successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his acknowledgement that his administration has a policy of respect for “our American flag.”
Trump also mentioned that the regions devastated by natural disasters — such as California, Puerto Rico, and Houston — are healing, and healing rapidly. He promised those regions that the U.S. “would be there.”
Saying his administration was ahead of schedule, he also hinted at recent changes to, and plans being made to address, everything from tax reform, Obamacare, and the Obama administration’s Iran deal. On Obamacare, he told the crowd, “We’re going to have great healthcare in our country — we’re taking a little different route. In the end it’s going to be just as effective and maybe it’ll even be better.”
He also acknowledged the challenges to religious liberty the country has faced in recent years, such as the recently successful challenge to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
“[The Little Sisters of The Poor] live by a beautiful calling and we will not let bureaucrats take away that calling,” Trump told the crowd, to a loud round of cheers and applause.
“[In America], we don’t worship government, we worship God.”