WASHINGTON — President Trump accused Democrats on Thursday morning of “presidential harassment” over congressional investigations into his finances, and he mocked Virginia politicians whose jobs are in peril after revelations they appeared in blackface.
Then, the president went to the annual National Prayer Breakfast, where he implored attendees to open up to faith in order to “fill our hearts with love.” Mr. Trump described America as “a nation that believes in redemption.”
The split-screen version of Mr. Trump has become a familiar formula, after two years of slash-and-burn tweets in the morning — and sometimes throughout the day — followed by presidential events meant to convey a somber tone.
Thursday offered an unusually stark comparison between Mr. Trump’s unvarnished thoughts and his formal schedule, as he seeks to revive his connection to evangelical and conservative voters whose support was crucial to his victory in 2016.
“So now Congressman Adam Schiff announces, after having found zero Russian Collusion, that he is going to be looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal, even though there is no reason to be doing so. Never happened before! Unlimited Presidential Harassment…” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter at around 6:15 a.m.
It was quickly followed by, “The Dems and their committees are going “nuts.” The Republicans never did this to President Obama, there would be no time left to run government. I hear other committee heads will do the same thing. Even stealing people who work at White House! A continuation of Witch Hunt!”
And then, in a reference to scandals engulfing Democrats in Virginia about wearing blackface and accusations of a sexual assault, Mr. Trump wrote, “Democrats at the top are killing the Great State of Virginia. If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken. Virginia will come back HOME Republican) in 2020!”
Twenty-five minutes later, Mr. Trump left for the Washington Hilton, where he sat in front of a plate of fruit and bagels, chatting with others, before he was called up to speak at the prayer breakfast.
“I will never let you down,” Mr. Trump told the audience, to applause.
The president described the group as “united by a shared belief in the glory of God and the power of prayer.” He added, “When we open our hearts to faith, we fill our hearts with love.”
He boasted that his “administration has taken historic action to protect religious liberty,” and talked about his State of the Union address, in which he proposed new restrictions on late-term abortions.
“All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God,” Mr. Trump said.
He then discussed Pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been imprisoned in Turkey, and whose case was championed by conservatives. Mr. Brunson was at Mr. Trump’s address on Tuesday.
That section brought another, small reminder that Mr. Trump’s teleprompter performances are different than the rawness his Twitter feed or interviews offer.
Reading from the prepared remarks, Mr. Trump said that the pastor this weekend “will walk his daughter down the aisle.” Mr. Trump appeared surprised by what he had just read, and said, “Wow. That’s great. Congratulations. Was I invited?”