On a Family Research Council (FRC) phone call during the height of the White House administration’s daily battle with COVID-19, 700 pastors expected to hear from Vice President Mike Pence when suddenly President Donald Trump joined the call.
“When I told the president I was going to be speaking to all of you,” Pence explained, “[he was] in the midst of an extraordinarily busy day. [But] he looked at me and said, ‘I have to find time. I need to find time.’” Pence says that “the prayers of the people on this call mean [everything] to him.”
Speaking to the pastors—the hundreds on the call and the 15,000 who heard it later—the president said, “I want to thank you for praying for our country and for those who are sick. You do such an incredible job. You’re very inspirational people. And I’m with you all the way. You know that you see what we’ve done for right to life and all of the things that we’ve been working so hard [for] together. I’ve been working with many of the people on the call. Many, many of the people. We’ve had tremendous support. . . . We are going to get over this [crisis].”
Before the president left the call, Tony Perkins, president of FRC, asked President Trump what he’d most like people to be praying for. “The health of the country,” President Trump replied, “the strength of our country.”
When the vice president returned to the phone, he told the pastors, “You know, the president has said many times that we’re going to bring the full resources of our federal government to bear on this. But by all of you being here today, and by the energies and ministries that you have [used to respond] to the coronavirus in your communities, you’re really putting hands and feet on your faith. And you are demonstrating what the president today called ‘the greatness of American character.’”
Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, also on the call, reminded the pastors that this virus came during a time of economic growth and blessing. “God is merciful,” he said. “And we will get through this.” Carson said that maybe this is an opportunity for the Lord to show His power in a way that will “help us return to Him.” In the meantime, he assured his listeners, “God still has His hand on this nation. And He has His hand on all of us.”