A June Meeting Between Evangelical Leaders and the President Has Been Scheduled
President Trump has a strange relationship with white, evangelical Americans. While evangelicals are happy about the president’s support for policies that grant more power to religious institutions and broadly expand protections of religious freedoms, his behavior has been a sticking point.
Part of the issue is that Trump has the double problem of not ever being considered religious and his no-filter communication style makes him a problematic figure to support on face value.
The more significant issue is of his alleged affairs. While multiple women have come forward and accused Trump of infidelity and sexual assault, pornstar Stormy Daniels is the most prominent. Her recent interview on 60 Minutes had more viewers than Trump’s inauguration, and the optics of the affair did cause a slight dip in the number of evangelicals supporting Trump.
This situation is similar to the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape where Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Trump met with evangelical leaders following it and reassured them he was the candidate that would be faithful to his agenda. It appears that this same strategy is being continued. On June 19, the president will meet with over 200 evangelical leaders and spend ninety minutes answering their questions. The meeting will also be used by evangelicals to share and coordinate strategies for organizing for the mid-term elections coming up in October.
Christians who believe this could be a moment for leaders to use their political capital to influence Trump’s behavior should probably not get their hopes up. Some leaders have already said the focus of the session will be on increasing the population of the base, and Trump’s behavior will be pushed to the background or not mentioned at all.
Evangelical voters are Trump’s most enthusiastic base, with over eighty percent voting for him during the election. It is unclear when an official agenda will be released for the event.