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World News

Trump boasts of acquittal at National Prayer Breakfast before championing religious freedom

President Trump has boasted of his acquittal from impeachment as he prepared to give his annual speech to the National Prayer Breakfast gathering. 

The 68th National Prayer Breakfast was attended by gospel singer Cece Winans, victims of religious persecution who had been freed and, as is tradition, the US President. 

After greeting people on stage, Donald Trump picked up a copy of USA today, which had the headline 'ACQUITTED,' and showed it to the audience and then did the same with The Washington Post's front page. 

Before the President spoke, speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, prayed for people who speak up for "the poor and the persecuted", other religions that are persecuted and that commercial interests would never blind people to human rights abuses. 

The President spoke following Bible readings of Deuteronomy 6 and John 15 and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy prayed for them to come together as a flock. 

Mr Trump said: "This morning, we come together as one nation, blessed to live in freedom and grateful to worship in peace. As everybody knows, my family, our great country, and your President, have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us, and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.

"I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong, nor do I like people who say 'I pray for you' when you know that is not so," he said in a reference to Ms Pelosi, who has said that she prays for the President. 

He praised the accomplishments of the country and attributed them to the faithful, saying: "So much of the greatness we have achieved, the mysteries we've unlocked, and the wonders we've built, the challenges we've met, and the incredible heights that we've reached has come from the faith of our families and the prayers of our people," referencing the faith of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the people who donated to build St Patrick's Cathedral and civil rights campaigners. 

He proceeded to say he would do the same: "To protect faith communities, I have taken historic action to defend religious liberty, including the constitutional right to pray in public schools.

"We are upholding the sanctity of life and we are doing that like nobody has ever done it before from this position. You better get out and vote on November 3rd because you have a lot of people out there that aren't liking what we're doing.

"And we're pursuing medical breakthroughs to save premature babies because every child is a sacred gift from God."

The breakfast is traditionally a moment of bipartisanship, where Christians from both parties come together to pray for the world. Much of waht he said was also mentioned in his State of the Union address earlier this week. 

Mr Trump spoke about religious freedom, saying his administration will fight for Christians' freedom abroad: "Yesterday, our administration launched the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the first-ever alliance devoted to promoting religious liberty."

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