The Rushmore Report: Why Christian Leaders Are Sticking with Trump

Despite the release of a tape of Donald Trump making lewd remarks about women and talking about his attempt to have an affair with a married woman, the Republican nominee still has the support of at least some of the nation’s leading Christian conservatives. So how can such Christian stalwarts as Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed, and Gary Bauer still support Trump? Let’s hear them in their own words.

A number of Republican officeholders have condemned the GOP candidate’s remarks, with some rescinding their support of him and others calling for Trump to quit the race in the wake of the release of the taped remarks Friday by the Washington Post.

But three prominent conservative Christian leaders said with varying degrees of enthusiasm that they remain in Trump’s camp.

1. Tony Perkins

The president of the conservative Family Research Council said Christians “are left with a choice of voting for the one who will do the least damage to our freedoms.”

“This is far from an ideal situation, but it is the reality in which we find ourselves and as difficult as it is, I refuse to find sanctuary on the sidelines and allow the country and culture to deteriorate even further by continuing the policies of the last eight years,” Perkins said.

2. Ralph Reed

Similarly, Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in a statement that Trump’s comments are “offensive and inappropriate.”

“The Bible teaches that we are to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, in all purity,” Reed said.

But, he said, “People of faith are voting in 2016 on critical issues like who will protect the unborn, defend religious freedom, appoint conservative judges, grow the economy, stand by Israel, and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, which Hillary Clinton helped to negotiate. Given the stakes on the election and the critical issues confronting our nation, an audiotape of an 11-year-old private conversation with an entertainment talk show host is unlikely to rank high on the hierarchy of their concerns.”

3. Gary Bauer

An evangelical and conservative activist affiliated with the American Values organization and Campaign for Working Families PAC, like Reed, Bauer emphasized that Trump made the comments years ago.

“The 10-year-old tape of a private conversation in which Donald Trump used grossly inappropriate language does not change the reality of the choice facing this country,” Bauer said. “Hillary Clinton is committed to enacting policies that will erode religious liberty, promote abortion, make our country less safe, and leave our boarders unprotected.”

Bauer was the most explicit of the conservative leaders in reiterating his support for the Republican nominee. “I continue to support the Trump-Pence ticket,” he said.

About the Author

Paul Blake is a writer and reporter for ABC News.

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