Donald Trump was to speak at a major gathering of conservative activists Friday, but President Barack Obama remained a chief target.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins accused Obama of ignoring pressing national issues to focus on transgender access to bathrooms; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed that Obama won’t get his Supreme Court nominee in the “eleventh hour” of his presidency.
And Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., asked attendees at the Faith and Freedom Coalition to pray for Obama -- as in Psalms 109:8.
“May his days be few,” Perdue said to laughter from the crowd at a Washington hotel.
Perdue did not read the rest of the passage: “May another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.”
But that didn’t stop Democrats from accusing Perdue of engaging in what they called “Donald Trump’s divisive and hateful rhetoric.”
Obama was at his daughter Malia’s high school graduation at the time and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted that as Perdue “considers whether or not an apology is appropriate, there are a variety of other Scripture he might consult.”
Earnest later joked that with Obama next Tuesday hosting the annual picnic for members of Congress at the White House, Perdue's attendance is “still TBD.” But, he added, the senator’s “invitation remains.”
Perdue’s office later accused the press of creating controversy and said the senator “in no way wishes harm to our president and everyone in the room understood that.”
Trump, who was to speak later, is viewed warily by many evangelicals, but Perdue suggested to the audience that “if you don't want a third Obama term, you have to put aside your differences and put Donald J. Trump in the White House.”