Trumps go to St. John’s Church to mark national day of prayer

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended services Sunday morning at St. John’s Church in downtown Washington, marking what the president proclaimed as a national day of prayer in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.

The first couple arrived for 10:30 a.m. services at St. John’s, a 19th-century Episcopal church across Lafayette Square from the White House. Presidents historically have visited St. John’s, including Trump, who attended services there on the morning of his inauguration, Jan. 21.

Trump, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red-and-blue striped tie, shook hands with clergy members as he went inside the sanctuary. Melania Trump wore a pink dress and powder-blue coat.

The Trumps typically attend church only on holidays or special occasions, but the first couple appear to be trying to demonstrate solidarity with those suffering in Southeast Texas and Louisiana and to unite the country after last month’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

During a meeting last Friday with evangelical leaders, the president signed a proclamation making Sunday a national day of prayer. Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump said, “From the beginning of our nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need to ask for God’s blessing and God’s guidance.”

On Saturday, the Trumps visited with storm victims in the Houston area and Lake Charles, Louisiana. The president encouraged volunteers at First Church of Pearland, in a Houston suburb, to take time to pray this weekend.

“So many of you are faith-based, and I want to tell you, tomorrow we have national prayer day,” Trump said. He added, “So go to your church and pray and enjoy the day.”