Right after declaring the outbreak of the virus—which emerged in mainland China last year—a national emergency, he made the prayer day declaration.
“It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. “No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!”
….No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020
Late on Saturday, he also said he is planning to watch an online church service.
It came as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson praised Trump’s declaration for a day of prayer.
“I hope that we as a nation can use this as an opportunity to pull together for good. You know, President Trump is going to be recommending a National Day of Prayer. And you know, we’ve gotten away from prayer and faith a lot in this country,” Carson said during a Saturday press conference. “Those are things that made America zoom to the top of the world in record time. And those are the things that will keep us there too,” he added.
It’s worth noting that the first Sunday of every March since the 1980s has been a National Day of Prayer.
A number of churches and religious organizations have suspended worship services amid the pandemic. One of the largest, the Mormon church, said last week that it is canceling all services and meetings across the world.
State and local officials across the United States have recommended against large public gatherings to mitigate the spread.
In making the national emergency declaration last Friday, Trump said that $50 billion in disaster relief funds to state and local governments will be freed up. “We will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.
Trump also waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies and ordered the Energy Department to purchase large quantities of crude oil for storage. He also called on states to set up emergency centers, hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans, and provided new powers to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. After emerging from and spreading across the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the coronavirus spread all over the country before extending across China’s borders to more than 100 countries.