How Often Does Trump Actually Attend Church? Not Often
Donald Trump sparked outcry from religious leaders after military police tear-gassed and fired rubber bullets into a peaceful crowd in order to let Trump to be able to walk from the White House to a church for a photo-op.
Trump's stunt at St. John's Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., marked the 14th time that he's attended a church since he took office in January 2017.
While he's tried to paint himself as a champion for religious freedom and has eagerly courted the religious right, Trump is not a regular churchgoer.
His religious views are also opaque. He's been unable to name his favorite Bible verse and did not recite a common prayer during a funeral service for the late George H.W. Bush. He's said he believes in God but does not ask God for the forgiveness of his sins.
The White House did not return a request for comment on whether Trump made any other visits to churches during his time in office.
Here's a look at all of the times Trump has attended church since he was sworn in:
Jan. 20, 2017: Trump attended a service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square on his inauguration day. His predecessors, including former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan attended services at the same church on their inauguration days. Former President Bill Clinton attended services at Metropolitan AME Church, a historically black church in Washington, D.C.
April 16, 2017: Trump attended Easter services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump was in Florida because he spent the Easter holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Sept. 2, 2017: During a visit to Texas to survey the destruction from Hurricane Harvey, Trump went to First Church of Pearland. He didn't attend services there, but rather gave remarks to volunteers who were giving out supplies to those impacted by the storm.
Dec. 24, 2017: Trump attended Christmas Eve services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea church in Palm Beach. Again, Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago resort to spend the Christmas holiday.
April 1, 2018: On his second Easter in the White House, Trump again attended church services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, as he once again was at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the holiday.
Dec. 5, 2018: Trump attended the funeral service of former President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral, along with his five living predecessors. But Trump caused a stir when he did not say the Apostles' Creed, which according to the Washington Post is "one of the prayers most core to Christianity."
Dec. 24, 2018: Trump attended Christmas Eve services at the Washington National Cathedral because he couldn't travel to Mar-a-Lago thanks to the government shutdown.
March 17, 2019: After a monthslong church-going drought, Trump attended Lenten services at St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square. Prior to his church attendance, Trump was airing his grievances on Twitter, including frustration about his portrayal on "Saturday Night Live."
April 21, 2019: Trump was back in Palm Beach for Easter, where he again attended Easter services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.
June 2, 2019: After playing a round at his golf property in Virginia, Trump went to a conservative evangelical church for 11 minutes so the church's pastor could pray over him. Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, had designated the day as a "Special Day of Prayer" for Trump.
Dec. 24, 2019: Trump was back in Florida for his annual Christmas holiday at Mar-a-Lago. But rather than attend Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Trump went to Christmas Eve services at a "conservative Baptist-affiliated church" in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to USA Today. Trump's change of church venue came days after a Christian magazine wrote an op-ed criticizing Trump's "grossly immoral character."
Jan. 3, 2010: Trump held a campaign rally at an evangelical megachurch in Miami, Florida, in his effort to court the evangelical vote. The event raised questions about the church's tax-exempt status.
June 1, 2020: Trump stood outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square holding a Bible after tear-gassing peaceful protesters to clear a path to walk there. He did not go inside, nor did he pray, nor did he read a Bible verse. Religious leaders condemned Trump for using the church as a political prop.
June 2, 2020: Trump visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine ahead of an executive order signing on "religious freedom" but was condemned by the Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory for using the shrine as a political prop. Gregory called Trump's visit "baffling and reprehensible" and that Trump "egregiously misused and manipulated" the shrine.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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