Feb. 7 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump promised to protect religious liberty in the United States and around the world Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
The event, held annually for more than 60 years, drew adherents of multiple world religions, including Jews, Catholic and evangelical Christians and Muslims. In his speech, Trump addressed abortion, human trafficking, the Holocaust and religious persecution.
"I will never let you down," Trump said. "As president, I will always cherish, honor and protect the believers who uplift our communities and sustain our nation to ensure that people in faith always contribute to our society."
Trump's appointment of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court has rallied many conservative Christians around the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court decision guaranteeing U.S. abortion rights.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Trump asked Congress to pass a law prohibiting late-term abortions.
"We must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life," Trump said Thursday. "All children born and unborn are made in the holy image of God. Every life is sacred and every soul is a previous gift from heaven."
Trump talked about his efforts to secure the southern border, which has put Congress in a stalemate, and led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The government could shut down again Feb. 15 if no deal is reached to build a wall, long promised by Trump, along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In his speech, Trump framed border security as a matter of curtailing human trafficking.
"We are fighting every day to stop the tragedy of human trafficking all along our southern border," Trump said.
Pastor Andrew Brunson was in attendance at the breakfast, less than six months after the Trump administration negotiated his release from Turkey. Brunson was held captive for two years on charges on spying and aiding an attempted coup.
"He was there for a long time before I got there. I said, 'You better let him out. And they let you out,'" Trump said.
Trump is the 12th president to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast, a tradition that started with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The breakfast was chaired by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.