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Trump steers clear of trashing Schwarzenegger at this year's prayer breakfast

Noah Bierman, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- A year after telling guests at the National Prayer Breakfast to "pray for Arnold" Schwarzenegger's television ratings as host of the "Celebrity Apprentice," President Donald Trump gave a more traditional address at Thursday's event.

Last year, Trump spent some of his speech, a normally solemn occasion, mocking the former California governor's work on the show as "a disaster," and blaming him for driving ratings "down the tubes."

Trump's only reference to the show this year came when he introduced Mark Burnett, who produced the show and introduced Trump at last year's breakfast.

"Stand up, Mark. You deserve it, even though he comes from Hollywood," Trump joked.

The rest of the 14-minute speech was fairly traditional for a conservative Republican president. Trump praised the American spirit, spoke out against religious oppression in North Korea, Cuba, Iran and elsewhere, and told the story of 9-year-old Sophia Campa-Peters, who defied a doctor's prediction that she would never walk.

Sophia, who was in the audience, recently had a successful surgery after receiving commitments from millions of people to pray for her through requests on social media.

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"This little girl has God on her side," Trump said, quoting a doctor in the emotional high point of the speech. "You may only be 9 years old but you are already a hero to us in this room and all over the world."

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