Donald Trump took a famous preacher’s call for a ‘national day of prayer’ seriously enough to briefly visit a Virginia evangelical church on Sunday after a round of golf.
The president, not known for engaging in regular Sunday worship, made the unannounced visit to northern Virginia’s McLean Bible Church after four and a half hours at his golf course in nearby Sterling and on his way back to the White House.
He spent 11 minutes there.
Evangelical leader Franklin Graham and more than 250 other Christian luminaries had asked America’s Bible-believers pray for Trump on Sunday in the hope that God would take his side in political battles that have roiled Washington.
Standing in golf shoes, Trump took off his white ‘USA’ baseball cap as he joined pastor David Platt on the stage that serves as the focus of services at the 58-year-old church.
‘We pray that he would look to you,’ Platt said, addressing the almighty, ‘that he would trust in you, that he would lean on you, that he would govern and make decisions in the ways that are good for justice and good for righteousness, and good for equity.’
Trump appeared visibly uncomfortable as he had to remove a baseball cap that he was wearing during his golf game earlier in the day.
Trump arrived at the church in McLean directly from his golf outing.
Trump said nothing from the stage during his brief stay.
He wore khaki pants, a blue golf shirt, a dark blazer — and light-colored golf shoes.
“This is the sad thing. It won’t matter,” said Kendal Unruh, a Colorado Christian school teacher and former Republican activist who led the unsuccessful effort at the 2016 convention to dump Trump as the nominee. “It doesn’t matter how much he mocks our faith.”
Unruh, who left her church in suburban Denver because “there was too much Trump worship,” said it was obvious that Trump’s aides remembered only after he had already left the White House to play golf that it was Graham’s “Pray for Donald Trump Day.”
Graham wrote last Sunday on Facebook that pastors should lead their congregations in the ‘Special Day of Prayer’ to ask the almighty to ‘protect, strengthen, encourage, and guide’ the president.
‘President Trump’s enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family, and the presidency. In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God,’ Graham wrote.
Self-described white, evangelical Christians make up the only major demographic group that supports Trump.
According to recent Pew polls, Trump has the approval of just 37 percent of Americans overall, but 69 percent of white evangelical Christians.
Many have justified their support of Trump — who famously said on tape that his celebrity allowed him to grab women by the genitals and who has been sued thousands of times for failing to honor signed contracts with craftsmen and suppliers — by arguing that their God in biblical times used flawed or even immoral leaders to advance his aims.