As the White House struggled to cope on July 10 with reports that first son Donald Trump Jr. set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties in 2016 to dig up dirt against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, evangelical Christian leaders gathered in the Oval Office to pray for President Donald Trump.
Johnnie Moore, who heads the KAIROS Company, a Christian-based marketing firm, snapped a picture of the evangelical leaders and Trump with their heads bowed. Moore described the prayer with Trump to The Christian Post as "a very special moment but it was also not an unusual one."
Moore insisted that praying for the president was a Christian tradition:
Various ones of us have prayed with him many times and have been praying for him for a long time ... We believe we are a praying nation, and we begin by praying for our leaders.
As you know, most evangelicals believe it's a sacred responsibility to pray for the president, and this is very much in our tradition as Americans who once took -- and sometimes still do take -- this responsibility seriously.
Moore said that he and other Christian leaders had prayed for former President Barack Obama, but added "it's different with President Trump."
"When we are praying for President Trump we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship," Moore added.
Moore called the prayer for Trump "a visit among friends," and noted that political access is a factor in their devotion to Trump.
"Evangelicals feel the door to the White House is as open as it has ever been before, even compared to Reagan according to several that were there whose career began back then," said Moore.
According to CBN, one of the attendees was Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, who asserted in 2014 that Obama was paving the way for the Antichrist, noted HuffPost.
Paula White of the New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, was also present. White was once investigated over her former church's finances and extravagant lifestyle by the Senate, noted The Washington Post. In April 2016, White asked New Destiny churchgoers to give a $1,144 "resurrection seed," which she said was ordered by God, reported The Christian Post.
Jim Garlow of the Skyline Church in San Diego, California, attended the prayer for Trump. Garlow announced in November 2016 that Christians who didn't vote for Trump were like Germans who allowed the Nazis to rise up to power, noted Right Wing Watch.
Garlow, who has a long history of anti-gay statements, said in February 2016 that those who support same-sex marriage should move into homes that lack proper plumbing, reported HuffPost.
Tony Perkins, who heads the conservative Family Research Council, was also part of the prayer circle. Perkins has been lobbying the Trump administration to stop transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces.
"What's worse, sexual assault and rape are already sky-high in the military," Perkins wrote on the FRC website on June 15. "Surely, the DOD's answer isn't throwing open the women's showers to naked men."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, was also in the Oval Office for the group prayer for Trump. In February, Land said Americans who oppose the Trump administration's policies are part of an "insurrection," which he blamed on Obama and former President Bill Clinton, reported Right Wing Watch.