Today’s Trumpisms: another mind-dump at the National Prayer Breakfast

Well, today was the National Prayer Breakfast, a sure violation of the First Amendment, but it keeps going on, year after year. Trump spoke, embarrassing himself with the usual spontaneous mind dump, and I’m just going to reproduce the email I get with my CNN alerts. The reportage, and video below, need little commentary.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, a solemn occasion with a rich history, President Trump spent more than a minute talking about his former reality show “The Apprentice.”He used the occasion to jokingly call for prayers for its new host Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster,” he said. [JAC: Start listening to this bit at 12:45]

The keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast was Barry Black, the chaplain of the United States Senate. Moved by Black’s remarks, Trump lauded him. “I don’t know if you’re Democrat or Republican, but I’m appointing you for another year. The hell with it.”

Here’s Trump’s speech in full, although there was much osculation of faith by other people. The President (oy!) starts speaking at 9:45. Like his speech on Martin Luther King Day, this is absolutely unbelievable:


Trump also told the audience that when they hear of the tough phone calls he’s having with foreign leaders, not to worry about it. [JAC: This is at 21:07 in the video above.]

During the US President’s call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday, Trump objected to an agreement over the US receiving refugees, sources told CNN.

Trump abruptly ended the call because he was unhappy, a source said.

All this a day after a call with Mexico’s President, where a transcript showed Trump complaining about Mexico’s “handling” of “tough hombres.”

And I’ll add this from The Independent, reporting Trump’s vehement vow at the Prayer Breakfast to get rid of the “Johnson Amendment.” That law, passed in 1954 and named after its sponsor Lyndon Johnson, helps keep church and government separate in America:

President Donald Trump has announced he will “get rid of and totally destroy” a 60-year-old rule that blocks tax-exempt religious groups from endorsing or opposing political candidates. [JAC: This is at 20:05 in the video above.]

The so-called Johnson amendment was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon B Johnson in 1954. It threatens churches and other religious institutions with the loss of their tax-exempt status should they overstep the mark.

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on Thursday Mr Trump said: “Jefferson asked, ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’ Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why 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—I will do that.”

Finally, your reading today on this topic is from The Nation, “Leaked draft of Trump’s religious freedom order reveals sweeping plans to legalize discrimination.” A  excerpt:

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act. The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was in the works, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”

h/t: Steve


  1. Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    As with a conjuror, don’t watch the hand he’s drawing attention to. So ignore the carefully crafted inanities about The Apprentice and watch the Johnson Amendment repeal threat, which matters. #RESIST effectively

    • darrelle
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I agree Trump needs to be carefully watched and that the Johnson Amendment repeal threat is the most important thing to worry about from this particular Donald Dump.

      But. I keep waiting to be convinced by Trump that, as so many of both his critics and supporters have claimed for so long now, he is actually really smart and everything he does is carefully calculated towards some complex Machiavellian purpose. So far I’ve seen no reason to think that that might be accurate. Everything I’ve seen suggests that he is incapable of carefully crafting anything.

      He really seems to be just the narcissistic, bumbling, unethical, juvenile moron that he appears. I mean, if he isn’t when will we finally see the real Donald? When will we finally get a glimpse of his end game? He’s won. He’s the president. How come he’s still playing the thuggish idiot?

      • Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Was also waiting for the man behind the curtain. Turns out, there wasn’t even a curtain. This is it.

        • Denise
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Besides being a malignant narcissist I think he’s also a drama queen, addicted to stirring it up. I don’t think he can stand more than a couple of days in a row without provoking some firestorm.

          I agree that he’s not coming up with these ideas on his own. Someone is feeding him stuff and it suits his own purpose – that of putting himself at the center of an uproar – to use it. There are people behind the curtain, they’re just not Donald Trump, and I think they know exactly what they’re doing.

        • Zetopan
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Actually, there are at least two people behind the curtain; Pense and Bannon. Trump is playing the idiot wizard, also known as a “useful idiot”, to those behind the curtain.

      • Zetopan
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        From my view Trump is classifiable as an incompetent idiot (plus all of the previously stated attributes; narcissistic sociopath, etc). Both Pense and Bannon are actually calling the shots and Trump is enough of a professional fool to both follow their “advice” and take credit for it. Recall how he signs executive orders and then proudly shows “his work” like a child showing their most recent coloring book results?

  2. Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “carefully crafted inanities”? I think he just rambles with no particular thought at all. View videos of him ‘remembering” the Holocaust (no reference to Jews); Black History Month (he had no idea if Fredrick Douglas was dead or alive); offering condolences to Navy Seal’s widow and then calling it “…an amazing visit.”

    I don’t think he cares one whit what he says, nor will he bother to learn anything new.

  3. Kevin
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    What do they mean legalize discrimination? It’s a broad spectrum that includes free speech , which is, generally, legal.

    Legal discrimination already exists whether it is salient or not. Income redistribution is inherently discriminatory for elite colleges:

    Alternatively, young men who are not in the popular American sports, have less scholarship money because of the money spent on American college football.

  4. Sastra
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Many Christians and other people of faith rightly fear what happens to the warm, fuzzy glow around “faith” when belief in God gets entangled with specific political parties and specific governments. If I was religious, I’d be absolutely terrified of “faith” becoming equated, in people’s minds, with “being in favor of Donald Trump and his ideas.”

    • eric
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I suspect that being too anti-SSM will sink a lot of conservatives – both politicians and priests. However, its certainly not going to sink all of them and some of them may grow in power and influence.

      The SBC is probably a good historical example. They initially split from other baptists because they supported slavery (specifically, supported the idea of missionaries owing slaves). In historical terms they clearly lost the social debate on that issue, but as a sect their position initially garnered them a lot of support and they still have it. I might suspect something similar might happen over SSM, if it isn’t happening already: sects choose sides, and while the anti-SSM side eventually loses the social debate on that issue (over the next few decades), they are able to keep the power and influence they gain from their bigotry.

      • phoffman56
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Could someone let me know what “SSM” refers to, please? It may be well known to USians, but I’m not one.

        • dorcheat
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          “SSM” means same sex marriage.

    • Posted February 9, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I am a Christian and am indeed “terrified” of being associated with Trump in any way. I published my views just before the election at
      Although 81% of White American Christians really did vote for Trump, I know I am not alone… some call us “the other 19%.”

  5. barriejohn
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Forrest Trump; truth is definitely stranger than fiction!

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Truth is stranger than “fake news.”

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    When I was in high school, the minister of my Methodist church had a candidate he supported.

    He sent out a letter to most of the congregation about it, being careful to pay for both the postage, the stationary, and the envelopes out of his own pocket. About the only church resource he used was the mailing list.

    He stated in the letter that everyone should vote their own conscience but HE himself was voting for George McGovern for the following reasons….

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Wow. The NPB has had Ben Carson as a keynote speaker twice!!

      It’s funded by a relatively secretive evangelical group called “The Family”. If it were interfaith, the First Amendment objections would be much less severe.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Ol’ George was the son of a Methodist minister himself. A farm boy from the plains of South Dakota who had gone off to the War and flown 35 combat missions over Germany as the 24-year-old captain of a B-24 Liberator. A man whose every fiber bespoke common decency and a deep, personal conservatism. Yet he was tarred by a political thug like Dick Nixon as the candidate of the “three As” — Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion (which, I gotta admit, to a newly-minted 18-year-old voter like me, sounded like a pretty solid platform).

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “… allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution …”

    The only fear of “retribution” they have is the fear of losing their tax-exempt status, something they have no business having in the first place.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      And none of them lose it anyway when they breach the law. There’s even a day each year when churches celebrate their opposition to the Amendment by preaching politics from the pulpit. The movement is getting bigger every year. Their tax exempt status is not at threat because it would be politically unpalatable to call the bluff of those churches who participate.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Yeah, seems the only threat to a religious institution’s section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status these days is to engage in unlawful discrimination — as Bob Jones U did with its ban on interracial dating.

        Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Trump’s Richelieu, Steve Bannon, has that in his sights too.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          I think Bannon will do anything he thinks he can get away with. And unfortunately, that’s quite a lot. Trump has shown himself unable to see the consequences of his actions and proved unwilling to ask for advice from the experts – two of the things the Doomsday Clock setters are worried about.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            Trump has never given serious thought to public policy — never before given serious thought to anything, it seems, beyond making money and self-promotion. He got into the presidential race as a celebrity lark, as a means of aggrandizing his brand-name (and because his frequent bluffs about running earlier had finally been called).

            I wouldn’t expect the Donald to take up the serious study of public policy at age 70. He’s no more prepared or capable of taking command himself than the the empty stuffed-shirt military officers in a Gilbert-and-Sullivan opéra bouffe.

            Tragically, preliminary indications are that he intends to take advise — if, indeed, he takes it at all — form the gang of insiders he brought to the White House with him (most of whom themselves have no prior government experience or policy chops) rather than from outsiders who may know what they’re doing. It’ll be interesting to see how long the few accomplished members of his cabinet stick with him.

  8. Carl Morano
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Actually loved the the disrespect at the mystics breakfast.

  9. busterggi
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    So when do the inter-denominational Christian civil wars start again?

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I found the whole thing quite revolting. The speaker on before Trump was all but deiifying Trump.

    Just one of the many criticisms I could make:

    Trump boasted of firing his agent because the agent complained about not being paid. The agent thought The Apprentice wouldn’t work, but once Trump decided to go ahead he did his job and should have been paid. So we have someone else Trump stiffed, and he’s boasting about it at an event that’s supposed to be all about morality. As we all know though, religious morality is synonymous with hypocrisy.

  11. jaxkayaker
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’m skeptical that Jefferson said what Trump claims he said. Jefferson was a strong proponent of separation of church and state.

  12. Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I think this is more alarming than the BHM one, if only because of the church-state thing.

  13. Claudia Baker
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Watching all this with a cold eye from Canada, all I can say is: this is some fucked-up shit.

    And, who is that idiot who spoke before the dump? Invoking jesus? ffs, can this get any crazier?

    • abram
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      It can and will.

  14. Claudia Baker
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Remind me again, why is there a “National Prayer Breakfast” ?????

    • GBJames
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Because jesus.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Of course. What was I thinking?

        To watch 45* in this ‘jesus’ context is enough to make me gag. As if he gives a flying fuck about it all.

        *Laurence Fishbone said on a late-night talk show that he calls him “45”, as he can’t bring himself to say the name.

        • Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          There are probably many permutations of Trump/Drumpf (like “Dump” and “Rump”. Also, remember “TP” for “Trump/Pence”) that are possible. I thought about calling him the “Orange Meanie” due to his fright-wig hair and in honor of the “Blue Meanie”. He’s the first stand-up comedian to have become President. Al Franken (a very smart man, former comedian) should be able to have interesting conversations with the “Dump”.

          • Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            “Twitler” is my current favor name for DJT.

            • Claudia Baker
              Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink


          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 3, 2017 at 1:01 am | Permalink

            “He’s the first stand-up comedian to have become President.”

            Please, that’s surely an insult to most stand-up comedians, many of whom are quite intelligent and articulate and witty, and all of whom have carefully thought about what they’re going to say before they open their mouth.

            How about ‘the first standing joke to become President’ ?



          • Jonathan Wallace
            Posted February 3, 2017 at 3:44 am | Permalink

            The FLATUS.

  15. Merilee
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Aside from the other BS which I haven’t listened to yet, Spicer says “there IS a lot of executive orders…” Call me pedantic, but really???

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      There is a lot, there are many. 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted February 3, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Is “there IS a lot” correct in the UK, Haggia? I believe “a lot” is considered plural in the US. But then you guys ( you lot) say “the government ARE” whereas we’d say “the government IS”.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted February 3, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          To be honest, I couldn’t really say. I tend to rephrase sentences with “a lot” in them when typing, because I instinctively want to make it plural as you did, but the pedant in me tells me it is singular. I guess I was just messing with you – sorry! Incidentally, I would write “the Government is”, but might possibly say “the Government are” when chatting. I’m afraid I agonise over things like this when typing, and collective nouns are a minefield. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude.

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          As a fellow pedant and a Brit I’d definitely say the government is. As for ‘is a lot of’ or ‘are a lot of’ I am not really sure but ‘is a lot of executive orders’ sounds awkward to me.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Agree with Haggis and Jonathan. ‘is a lot’ is technically correct, I think, but ‘are a lot’ is excusable.

            On reflection, I think it depends partly on whether one is thinking primarily of the group – ‘there is a lot of evidence that the corner is deceptive’ or the group’s members – ‘there are a lot of cars that fell off the road sitting in the ditch’

            Similarly with ‘government’ – ‘the government has done something stupid again’ vs ‘the government (MP’s) are a bunch of idiots’


  16. Merilee
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    And ✔️✔️

  17. Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Listening to the whole presentation I developed the feeling of the German painter Max Liebermann when in 1933 he saw the Nazi crowds passing the Brandenburg Gate near his workshop. He said in his Berlin dialect: Ick kann jarnich soville fressen, wie ick kotzen möchte (I like to vomit so much but I can’t eat enough).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, you cannot listen to this crap without some vomiting. It is very hard to believe this extremely limited person is sitting in the office of Lincoln and Washington. I suspect Pence, the religious one, wrote parts of this speech for him. To quote Jefferson as the religious one he follows only shows how ignorant of his own American History that he is. He is going to tear down the wall between church and state that Jefferson helped to create and he thinks he is doing Jefferson’s work. The stupidity is beyond comprehension. No wonder there are thousands of different religions in Christianity alone. These people could not read one sentence and come up with the same translation. There must be a difference between speaking without evidence and without knowledge but Trump is a master at both.

  18. Merilee
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    JFC, I’m already nauseated listening to The Survivor asshole💩

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Trump used a prayer breakfast to brag about his Celebrity Apprentice ratings and to mock Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    My old man taught me the “never toot your own horn” lesson as a 10-year-old playin’ little-league baseball.

    The fuck was wrong with Fred Trump, he never taught it to Donald?

    • busterggi
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The Klan sheet covering his face muffled his voice so little Donnie couldn’t hear him.

    • Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Does Ahnie still consider himself a Republican?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 3, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        I somehow sense that California Republicans are a little different from the general run of Repubs.


        • Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          Granted – and he’s “his own man” on some of these things (like Jesse Ventura was), but …

      • Posted February 4, 2017 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        The guy was baptized Arnold so Arnie would be the correct orthography.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 5:22 am | Permalink

          Errm, Ahnie is an affectionate take on his famous accent. Didn’t you know?


          • Posted February 4, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

            Didn’t know that you lost the “r” in the States. I am from Angieland.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              No, it’s Ahnie’s accent specifically. If you listen to some of his famous phrases, such as ‘I’ll be back’, he pronounces them pretty much like ‘Ah’ll be baak’.

              (I assume you’ve seen Terminator? If not, I’d make a bet that someone’s put that clip up on Youtube)


  20. Veroxitatis
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Jesus wept.

  21. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    “Trump spoke, embarrassing himself with the usual spontaneous mind dump”

    Unfortunately there is little evidence that he feels any sense of embarrassment.

  22. Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  23. Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Trump says not to worry about his tough phone calls with allied leaders. Well, we Australians are worried. We are the only country who has fought alongside the USA in almost every war since WW1. And this is how our leader is treated with disrespect by Trump.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      I am perversely gratified by it.

      This is what you get for kissing up to assholes – you get publicly shat on.
      Hopefully other world leaders will draw the obvious conclusion and spare themselves the embarrassment – Teresa May please note.

      I had hoped that the Drumpf once elected would prove to be smarter ^H^H^H^H^H^H less monumentally stupid than he appeared on the campaign trail, but it was obviously a false hope.


      • Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        This comment is disgusting and should be deleted.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:46 am | Permalink

          Well, I won’t try to speak for Aussies, but if I was in that position I wouldn’t be ‘worried’, I’d be furious.


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