Against the backdrop of turmoil in his White House and his family, President Donald Trump engaged in an Oval Office prayer session with several Evangelicals — a closed-door private meeting that was revealed after a vivid photo emerged on social media.
Johnnie Moore, a former senior vice president at Virginia’s Liberty University, told CNN that he was among a group of national faith leaders who were at the White House on Monday to meet with representatives from the Office of Public Liaison.
While there, they were invited to meet with the president, Moore said, calling it a “lighthearted visit among friends” that concluded with the group prayer.
In an image shared by Moore, the president bowed his head as others placed their hands on his shoulders. Vice President Mike Pence could also be seen in the photos, with his head also lowered in prayer.
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“When we are praying for President Trump, we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship,” said Moore, who added that Trump was “in good spirits.”
The president “was as strong and focused as I have ever seen him. It was as if he was entirely above the fray,” said Moore.
CNN reported that others in the group included Jack Graham, the pastor of Plano, Texas’ Prestonwood Baptist Church, televangelist Paula White and Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida.
The meeting came just one day after The New York Times first reported that Donald Trump Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. Later, Trump Jr. confirmed the Times’ reporting that the meeting was attended by then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner.
Trump Jr. has since released the exchange of emails leading up to the meeting, which revealed he planned on meeting with the lawyer because he believed she had compromising information about Hillary Clinton.
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, later claimed to NBC News that she never worked for and has no connections with the Russian government — and “never had damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton.”
Meanwhile, the president is standing by his son’s actions, even praising his “transparency” on Tuesday and calling him a “high-quality person.”