Donald Trump Cites ‘Abolition Of Civil Rights’ As ‘One Of Our Greatest Strides’ At National Prayer Breakfast

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In what appears to be a strange but unexplained gaffe while speaking Thursday at the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump praised “people of faith” for leading some of America’s “greatest strides,” including, in Trump’s words, “abolition of civil rights.” The bizarre statement, or misstatement, was captured on video and published on YouTube by the Washington Post.

Trump’s odd remark came moments after he opened his speech to the assembly of religious leaders and politicians by thanking Karen Pence, wife of United States Vice President Mike Pence, for her work teaching at a “Christian school,” as Think Progress editor Zack Ford reported on Twitter.

But Trump did not acknowledge that Pence has come under fire for recently returning to teach at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia as the school’s policies ban gay and transgender employees. According to NBC News, the school’s employment policy bars employees from “such behaviors as the following:… homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity.” The policy also bans “heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex),” as well as “use or viewing of pornographic material or websites.”

How could Trump have made the “abolition of civil rights” error? According to conservative political commentator David Frum, “the script seems to have called on Trump to reference ‘abolition of slavery AND civil rights,’ but as you watch him, he seems to struggle with reading it.”

Karen Pence look up at her husband.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (l) and wife Karen Pence (r).Featured image credit: Paul MorigiGetty Images

“Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides, from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights, to extending the vote for women, have been led by people of faith and started in prayer,” Trump said in the Prayer Breakfast speech, as quoted by the Independent. “When we open our hearts to faith we fill our hearts with love.”

Trump has recently been making efforts to solidify support among white evangelical voters, as the recent government shutdown apparently caused support among his base voters to erode, as Inquisitr reported. To that end, he called earlier this week for Congress to pass legislation banning “late term abortions,” as CNBC reported.

Abortions that occur after 24 weeks of pregnancy comprise less than 1 percent of all legal abortions, according to the New York Times, and are are performed “because the fetus has been found to have a fatal condition that could not be detected earlier, such as a severe malformation of the brain, or because the mother’s life or health is at serious risk,” the Times reported.

But according to Times correspondent Elizabeth Dias writing in her Twitter account, Trump did not mention the “late term abortions” issue at the National Prayer Breakfast.