President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden used their speeches at the annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House to condemn billionaire candidate Donald Trump.
Biden remarked on the increased level of fear in the world after the recent attacks in Belgium by Islamic State terrorists, but focused his attention on criticizing Trump.
“While fear is understandable, exploiting that fear is absolutely unacceptable,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims and refugees from entering the country.
“When innocent people are ostracized simply because of their faith, when we turn our backs on the victims of evil and persecution, it’s just wrong,” he added.
Obama also chastised Trump to the group of pastors.
“They can tempt us to cast out the stranger, strike out against those who don’t look like us, or pray exactly as we do,” he said. “And they can lead us to turn our backs on those who are most in need of help and refuge.”
That was the purpose of terrorist attacks, Obama argued, for Americans and Christians to act against their values.
“That’s the intent of the terrorists, is to weaken our faith, to weaken our best impulses, our better angels,” he said.
Obama warmly referred to Pope Francis’s decision to wash the feet of refugees during the Holy Thursday mass.
“What a powerful reminder of our obligations if, in fact, we’re not afraid, and if, in fact, we hope, and if, in fact, we believe,” he said. “That is something that we have to give.”