President Donald Trump was unable to attend the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning. But his record in office on "red meat issues" for Roman Catholics was praised and wildly cheered by the sellout crowd of more than 800 at Marriott Marquis Washington D.C.
Among the issues for which President Trump was hailed by speakers at the annual event were his efforts to stop federal funding of abortions, his executive orders permitting political action by churches, and – drawing the loudest applause of all – his appointments to the Supreme Court and the federal bench.
If the breakfast was any barometer of where the president stands among practicing Catholics in the U.S., then he is very likely in stronger shape than in 2016. That was the year Trump – a Presbyterian and occasional churchgoer – drew more than 70 percent of the votes of Roman Catholic voters who practice their faith (attendance at weekly Mass and on Holy Days of obligation) over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Representing the president – and given a hero's welcome at the breakfast – was Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney, himself a Roman Catholic, revealed Trump personally added to his 2019 State of the Union Address the criticism of Virginia's Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam for his controversial statements about aborting a live baby.
Recalling the president's successful efforts to release Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson from a Turkish prison, Mulvaney also revealed something "from behind closed doors at the White House." Mulvaney regaled his audience how he had sat with Trump and watched the president tell fellow world leaders "You're not doing enough to help Christians [who are being persecuted] in your country."
I am sure, the president's top aide added, "that this has not been done in the Oval Office in a long time."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for questsin. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.