Trump’s speech took a starker tone than that of former President Barack Obama, who said during the prayer breakfast last year that faith can be a cure for playing on people’s fears.
Trump on Thursday didn’t specify how he’ll act on provisions sought by religious conservatives, who helped propel him into the White House. However, he did once again pledge to repeal the Johnson Amendment — an IRS rule barring pastors from endorsing candidates from the pulpit.
“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution,” Trump said.
He had made a similar assurance as a candidate, but has not detailed how he plans to scrap the rule or how quickly he will proceed in doing so. Such a move would require congressional approval.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that the president would leave intact a 2014 executive order that protects workers for federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ discrimination, saying in a statement that Trump “continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.”