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Trump Attends National Prayer Service Before Heading To CIA Headquarters


Washington D.C.'s National Cathedral hosted a prayer service this morning for the nation's new president and vice president.


UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

SIMON: It was an ecumenical service, which featured prayers from Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus, among others. This, of course, is President Trump's first full day in office. And he has already signed an executive order related to the Affordable Care Act. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us.

Scott, thanks for being with us.

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SIMON: This prayer service at the National Cathedral has become ritual after inaugurations. What stood out for you today?

HORSLEY: Well, a lot of it was what you'd expect, some wonderful music, as we just heard, both patriotic and liturgical. There were prayers for the incoming leaders along with prayers for the military, diplomats, even school board members. Most of those prayers were not overtly political. But the dean of the National Cathedral, Reverend Randall (ph) Marshall Hollerith, did make what could be heard as a pointed appeal directed at President Trump.


RANDOLPH MARSHALL HOLLERITH: Look with compassion on the whole human family. Take away the arrogance and hatred, which infect our hearts. Break down the walls that separate us. Unite us in arms of love.

HORSLEY: That's in contrast to the sermon that was preached for the president-elect at St. John's Church yesterday just before the inauguration, which was drawn from the book of Nehemiah all about rebuilding walls around Jerusalem.

SIMON: Let's go from wall building to fence mending. President Trump is paying a visit to the headquarters of the CIA today. What's that seemed to be about?

HORSLEY: Trump's new press secretary, Sean Spicer, says the president is excited to thank the men and women of the intelligence community. Obviously, Trump has had a somewhat fraught relationship with that community since intelligence agencies came out a month before the election and said Russia was trying to meddle in the presidential campaign. Initially, Trump disputed that finding. He has more recently sort of grudgingly accepted it. But he has also pointed to pass missteps of the intelligence agencies like the erroneous conclusion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So this is a chance for Trump to sort of extend an olive branch to those agencies on whose intelligence he will presumably be relying now that he's in the White House.

SIMON: And last night, the president signed his first executive order. It directs the government to - I'll quote now - do what it can to, quote, "ease the burdens of the Affordable Care Act," while the administration works with Congress to develop a replacement. Help us understand this.

HORSLEY: You know, the short answer was don't - we don't really know what the practical effect of this order's going to be. The administration's given very little guidance. Certainly, it is a signal right out of the gate that Trump is serious about his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something. We don't know what. But the administration's also mindful that any abrupt moves could really cause a lot of damage to the already fragile insurance market - the individual insurance market. So as a practical matter, we think they might tread carefully here.

SIMON: NPR's Scott Horsley, thanks very much for being with us.

HORSLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.