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The Latest: Trump promises to always protect people of faith

February 7, 2019
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President Donald Trump speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he will always protect people of faith, as he addresses the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Trump said at Thursday’s event, “As president I will always cherish, honor and protect the believers who uplift our communities and sustain our nation.”

Trump thanks faith leaders for supporting his administration’s criminal justice reform efforts. He adds, “America is a nation that believes in redemption.”

Trump adds that he has directed his administration to fight to protect religious freedom.

The annual gathering brought together members of the president’s Cabinet and members of Congress, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH’-see).

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9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are being asked to set aside “tribal divisions” to do good.

Delivering the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday, Gary Haugen, the CEO and founder of the International Justice Mission, told the nation’s political leaders that: “When we all agree on good that needs doing, we should just do it.”

Haugen encouraged leaders to also take action to end modern slavery. He says Washington should find compromise on criminal justice reform and addressing the opioid crisis.

Haugen is raising alarm about a “fracturing of the American family.”

He warns: “I do sense that we are in a national moment of perilously mounting discouragement.”

Trump and Pelosi are joining more than 180 members of Congress at the annual event.

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9:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is attending the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

The annual gathering has brought together members of the president’s Cabinet and members of Congress, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Among those delivering readings on Thursday was the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who made headlines around the world with his stirring sermon about the power of love at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Guatemala’s ambassador to the U.S., Manuel Espina, offered prayers for Trump, saying: “We pray that you’ll give him the wisdom and the knowledge to lead this country under your principles and guidance.”

And Dr. Lance Plyler of the Samaritan’s Purse evangelical Christian organization argued that, regardless of skin color, language, religion or country of residence, “We are all equal in the eyes of God” and “all neighbors.”

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