President Donald Trump tweeted well-wishes to Americans celebrating Easter on Sunday, noting that this year’s is “much different” with many people having to observe the holiday from their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“But this Easter will be much different than others because in many cases, we’ll be separated — physically only — from our churches. We won’t be sitting there next to each other, which we’d like to be. And soon, we’ll be again,” Trump, said in a recorded video message.
“But right now, we’re keeping separation. We’re getting rid of the plague,” he said, adding, “Celebrate, bring the family together like no other, we have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Easter, everybody.”
Trump, a Presbyterian, observed the holiday at the White House by livestreaming the Easter services of a megachurch in Dallas led by his friend and sometime-adviser Robert Jeffress.
Jeffress, who paralleled the challenges of coronavirus to scripture during his Sunday message to listeners, welcomed the President at the beginning of the service.
“And today I’d like to say welcome to a very special visitor, a great friend of mine, our great President Donald Trump. Mr. President, we’re so honored that you would choose to worship with us today,” Jeffress said, adding that “millions and millions of Christians” are praying for Trump as he navigates the crisis.
Jeffress, a Southern Baptist who vigorously campaigned for Trump in 2016 and preached at a private service for him before the inauguration, has a lengthy history of inflammatory remarks about Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and gay people.
The pastor has called Islam and Mormonism heresies “from the pit of hell,” suggested that the Catholic church was led astray by Satan, accused former President Barack Obama of “paving the way” for the Antichrist and spread false statistics about the prevalence of HIV among gays, who he said live a “miserable” and “filthy” lifestyle.