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Speaking at Evangelical Christian Conference, Trump Endorses Ten Commandments in Schools

Speaking at Evangelical Christian Conference, Trump Endorses Ten Commandments in Schools
Speaking at Evangelical Christian Conference, Trump Endorses Ten Commandments in Schools

 


WASHINGTON (AP) Donald Trump told a group of evangelicals they can't afford to sit out the 2024 election, at one point imploring them to go out and vote, Christians, please!

Trump also endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools and elsewhere during a speech Saturday to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians in Washington. He drew cheers by invoking a new law signed in Louisiana this week requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all public school classrooms.

WATCH: Louisiana's Ten Commandments Law Raises New Concerns About Separation of Church and State

“Has anyone read Thou Shalt Not Steal? I mean, has anyone read this amazing stuff? It’s just incredible,” Trump said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition rally. “They don’t want it to increase. It's a crazy world.

A day earlier, Trump posted an endorsement of the new law on his social media network, saying: I LOVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN PUBLIC, PRIVATE SCHOOLS, AND MANY OTHER PLACES, FORWARD. READ IT HOW CAN WE AS A NATION FIND YOU???

The former president and presumptive Republican presidential candidate backed the move as he seeks to galvanize his supporters on the religious right, who fiercely supported him after initially wary of the New York tabloid's celebrity, twice divorced, when he first ran for president in 2016.

That support has continued despite his conviction in the first of four criminal cases he faces, in which a jury last month found him guilty of falsifying business records for what prosecutors said was an attempt to conceal a hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels just before trial. 2016 election. Daniels claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump a decade earlier, which he denies.

READ MORE: Trumps 2024 Trial: Where They Stand and What to Expect

Trump's stated opposition to signing a national abortion ban and his reluctance to detail some of his views on the issue are at odds with many in the evangelical movement, a key part of Trump's base. Trump who should help him turn out the vote in his November rematch with the Democratic president. Joe Biden.

But although many in the movement would like to see him do more to restrict abortion, they view him as the cause's greatest champion because of his role in appointing the U.S. Supreme Court justices who canceled the national right to abortion in 2022.

Trump underscored that Saturday, saying, “We did something incredible, but that would be left up to the citizens of the states to decide.” »

Every voter must go with their heart and do what is right, but we must also get elected, he said.

Although he still takes credit for overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump also warned that abortion could prove politically sensitive for Republicans. For months, he deferred questions about his position on a national ban.

Last year, when Trump spoke to the Faith & Freedom Coalition, he said the federal government had a vital role to play in protecting unborn life, but provided no details beyond of this.

In April of this year, Trump said he believed this issue should now be left to the states. He later said in an interview that he would not sign a national abortion ban if it passed Congress. He has always refused to detail his position on women's access to mifepristone, the abortion pill.

About two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should generally be legal, according to a poll last year by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Attendees at Saturday's evangelical rally said that while they would like to see a national ban on abortion, Trump was losing none of their deep support.

I would rather he sign a national ban, said Jerri Dickinson, a 78-year-old retired social worker and member of Faith & Freedom of New Jersey. I understand, however, that under the Constitution this decision should be left to the states.

Dickinson said she does not support her state's abortion law, which does not set limits on the procedure based on gestational age. But she added that beyond preferring a national ban, leaving the issue to the state was the best alternative.

WATCH: The Fall of Roe examines the players in the movement to end abortion and what could be next

John Pudner, a 59-year-old who recently started a Faith and Liberty chapter in his home state of Wisconsin, said members of the movement feel loyal to Trump, but we generally prefer him to be more pro-life.

I think many, you know, within the pro-life movement feel like, well, my God, they kind of think he's too pro-choice, he said. But because they like his Supreme Court justices, it's a positive within the pro-life community.

According to AP VoteCast, a broad survey of the electorate, about 8 in 10 white evangelical Christian voters supported Trump in 2020, and nearly 4 in 10 Trump voters identified as white evangelical Christians. That year, white evangelical Christians made up about 20 percent of the total electorate.

Beyond simply offering its own support in the general election, the Faith and Liberty Coalition plans to help turn out the vote for Trump and other Republicans, using volunteers and paid workers to knock on millions of doors across battlefield states.

Trump said Saturday that evangelicals and Christians weren't voting as much as they should, and joked that while he wanted them to vote in November, he didn't care if they voted in again after that.

He described Christianity as being threatened by what he suggested was an erosion of freedom, law and national boundaries.

He returned several times during his roughly 90-minute remarks to the topic of the U.S.-Mexico border, and at one point, describing migrants crossing the border as difficult, he joked that he told his friend Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. , to enlist them in a new version of the sport.

“Why don’t you create a migrant league and have your usual league of fighters? “And then you have the champion of your league, it's the greatest fighters in the world, fighting the champion of migrants, Trump described telling White. I think the migrant could win, he is so tough. He didn't really like this idea.

His story elicited laughter and applause from the audience.

Biden's campaign responded to Trump's remarks by saying it was appropriate that Trump, convicted of a crime, spent time at a religious conference making threats about immigration and boasting about having taken away the freedoms of Americans.

Trump's incoherent and unhinged tirade showed voters, in his own words, that he poses a threat to our freedoms and is too dangerous to be allowed near the White House again, said the campaign spokesperson, Sarafina Chitika, in a statement.

Later Saturday, Trump planned to hold an evening rally in Philadelphia.

Associated Press writers Tom Strong and Amelia Thomson DeVeaux contributed to this report.

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