Trump uses school prayer event to brag about the damage he's doing to health care

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Trump has used his office to repeatedly curtail women's access to reproductive health care — and he's proud of it.

At an event on Thursday billed by the White House as part of a campaign for "protecting prayer in public schools," Donald Trump touted his administration's efforts to limit access to abortion.

A release from the White House about the event said, "President Donald J. Trump remains committed to protecting every student's constitutional right to pray in school."

But when he was asked by a reporter how he planned to reach out to Catholic voters before the 2020 election, Trump turned to abortion, not prayer.

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"What's your message to the millions of Catholics in the United States? Why should they vote for you in the upcoming election?" a reporter asked.

"Well I have a great relationship with Catholics, I've done so much for Catholics" said Trump. "You take a look at the abortion issue, you take a look at many of these – Mexico City – you take a look at so many of the different issues. My relationship with Catholics and the Catholic Church has been very, very good."

However, Trump's claims of a "great relationship" with Catholics also does not stand up to scrutiny.

A December 2019 poll of Catholic voters found Trump losing in head-to-head matchups against key Democratic presidential candidates like Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. All of the Democratic candidates support a woman's right to choose an abortion.

In 2016, Trump lost among Catholic voters, who preferred Secretary Hillary Clinton by 48% to 45%.

During that campaign Trump was involved in a feud with Pope Francis, who criticized his plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In response, Trump said the Pope was "disgraceful" and a "pawn" of the Mexican government.

Trump has liberally used his power to push an anti-abortion agenda. The "Mexico City" policy, also known as the global gag rule,  Trump cited was implemented early in his administration and prohibits the United States from giving international assistance to any organization that speaks to women about abortion as a health care option.

Trump has also installed anti-choice judges in the federal courts, including at the highest level, through the appointments of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

He has also used his office, along with Mike Pence, to promote myths like the fraudulent claim that Democrats support "post-birth" abortion. Extremists have in the past latched on to similar falsehoods as justification for acts of terrorism that have killed and wounded innocent people.

While Trump may have won over the anti-abortion camp, his recent remarks prove just how out of step of step he is when it comes to ordinary Americans and the voters he claims love him so much.