Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council and has been an ardent supporter of President Trump. This has brought him under fire, due to some of Trump’s past indiscretions and his comment that evangelicals had given Trump a “mulligan.” Perkins recognizes Trump’s shortcomings. Still, he remains a strong supporter – for one reason.
Trump has kept his promises.
Perkins admits that supporting Trump is not always easy. He says evangelicals have forgiven the president for his past behavior, but don’t want to see him repeat himself now that he is in office.
“Nothing has changed since the evangelical community agreed to support President Trump,” he said, noting that he wasn’t an early Trump supporter, but that he came around once the general election came down to Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In the end, Perkins said that many evangelical leaders decided to come around Trump so long as he abided by a few requests: nominating pro-life judges, having a sold running mate, and not diminishing the Republican Party platform. Perkins said that Trump has kept his promises; he has abided by all of those pledges and continues to keep his promises.
“Evangelicals kind of gave him a mulligan,” he said. “They said, ‘Look, we know your past, we don’t agree with it, we don’t like it – it’s reprehensible to us, but we’re going to start fresh and work forward.'”
As for evangelicals not addressing moral concerns with the president, that is not true, Perkins asserts.
“They are wrong in saying that evangelical leaders are not addressing it. If I can talk to you, if you will allow me to express my concern about things, I will do so privately. These things are being communicated.”
And it seems Perkins has had that opportunity with the president. He says evangelicals have had more access to Trump and a better relationship with him than they did with George W. Bush during the entirety of his presidency.
“This president has more aligned with and shown concern about the issues that matter to pro-life Americans, those who advocate for religious freedom, than any other president in my lifetime,” he said.
Despite all of this, Perkins said that evangelical leaders’ support for Trump isn’t unconditional and that it really hinges on him keeping his promises and not falling into bad patterns of past behavior.