White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Says Faith Is Driving Many Trump Administration Policies at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney addresses the 2019 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on April 23, 2019, in Washington. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday (April 23) that faith drives the Trump administration’s policy proposals, arguing that “the principles of our faith (are) being manifest” under the president’s watch.

Also in attendance at the breakfast — a largely conservative religious gathering that meets annually in Washington — were two deputy assistants to President Trump, United States Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.

Mulvaney, who is Catholic, opened his talk with an anecdote about speaking several years ago at a prayer breakfast in his home state of South Carolina at the invitation of then-Sen. Jim DeMint. Mulvaney explained that as a novice to prayer breakfasts, he inadvertently chose to read a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus encourages believers to pray in private, not in public. He said a priest later interpreted the passage for him, arguing it does not bar public prayer but is part of Jesus’ call to do “the opposite of what is popular.”

The Trump administration’s policy agenda, Mulvaney suggested, constitutes just that sort of unpopular but faithful action.

“The president has allowed us, Christians of all denominations, folks from all different faiths … to be very vocal about their faith, and to practice their faith, and to take their faith and work it into our policies,” he said.

As examples, Mulvaney noted Trump’s efforts to return pastor Andrew Brunson from captivity in Turkey and recounted an experience of the president telling other world leaders in meetings that they are “not doing enough to take care of the Christians in (their) country.”

Mulvaney also said the president personally added more discussion of abortion to this year’s State of the Union address as a direct response to reports of Gov. Ralph Northam voicing support for a bill that would loosen restrictions on late-term abortions in Virginia.

“I’m comfortable as a Catholic — even though I work for a gentleman who is not Roman Catholic — that the principles of our faith are alive and well, and well-respected in this administration, and are driving many of our policies,” he said. “That’s something I’m extraordinarily proud to be a part of.”

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Source: Religion News Service