At 11:38 that same morning, Trump stood in the Rose Garden and heralded the National Day of Prayer, complete with reference to the “Glory of God” and “God’s mercies and blessings.”
Even CNBC could not resist the pairing: “Trump leads National Prayer Day event after saying he repaid lawyer for hush money to porn star,” the often-staid business-news network tweeted.
Loyal Vice President Pence attempted to burnish the president’s piety. “There’s prayer going on on a regular basis in this White House,” he told the Christian Broadcast Network. (Indeed, prayer is the only basis for the White House economic forecasts.) “I’ve lost count of the number of times that the president has nudged me, or nudged another member of the cabinet, and said, ‘Let’s start this meeting with prayer.’”
That’s odd, because Trump, who proposed a prayer for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings at a prayer breakfast last year, seems not particularly inspired by the whole prayer exercise; his prayer-day remarks consisted largely of ad-libbed adjectives appended to a prepared speech. On the Pences: “They believe. It’s good.” Billy Graham: “Great, great man. Great.” Martin Luther King Jr.: “Great man.” America as a nation of believers: “Right? That’s very true.” People who minister to the poor: “And they really do!”
But what if Trump actually were the prayerful sort? If he were — and, given recent events, that would be advisable — his National Day of Prayer remarks would likely be rather different. Something, perhaps, like this:
Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, give Rudy Giuliani the gift of discretion. Lead him no more, I beseech thee, to the Altar of Hannity. Grant him the wisdom to know what he does not know, and the courage not to fake it. Give him pause when he would speak about those who say they have lain with me.
Eternal God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, bring peace to the souls of those who have departed my legal team, some before they began, including Ty Cobb, John Dowd, Joe diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Dan Webb, Tom Buchanan and Marc Corallo. I commend to thy fatherly goodness those afflicted souls who have fallen in service to me, especially Ronny Davis, David Shulkin, H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, Tom Price, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Richard Gates. But not Andrew McCabe.
Deliver me, O Lord, from Robert Mueller, and deliver me no subpoena. Lead me not to plead the fifth. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, particularly Rod Rosenstein and Adam Schiff. O Prince of Peace, spare me James Comey, for he hath persecuted my soul.
O God, fountain of wisdom, make people none the wiser that I lied about the hush money. Pardon me, Heavenly Father, as I have pardoned Scooter Libby and Joe Arpaio.
Almighty God, inspire the evangelicals to remain faithful to me, with everlasting and unlimited forgiveness. Lift up my followers at Fox News, especially Neil Cavuto, who has lapsed.
Forgive me my debts, O Gracious Father, to Michael Cohen, for the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York would notice further payments. Look with compassion on Michael, and inspire him to turn toward you, and not be turned by prosecutors.
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven, heal those who are broken in body and spirit. (Yet do not hesitate to send down on Michael Avenatti a case of laryngitis.)
Watch over thy child Scott Pruitt, O Lord, and grant him a day without a new scandal. May John Kelly, guided by thy Providence, cease calling me names. May Marco Rubio complain no more about the tax cut. May Jared Kushner not revise his financial disclosures for the 41st time.
By your grace, hold the tongue and pen of Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and many others, that they grant no further interviews nor write memoirs.
Bless Alan Dershowitz. Raise up Devin Nunes. Strengthen Bibi. And, for heaven’s sake, cut the mustache of John Bolton.
Finally, O Eternal God, grant that my greatness be known throughout this land. For mine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.