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Tags: trump | evangelicals | voters | faith | freedom | presidential election

Trump to Evangelicals: Christians Need to Vote

Saturday, 22 June 2024 12:47 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday urged evangelicals to get out and vote in an election that has him neck and neck with President Joe Biden.

"The evangelicals and the Christians, they don't vote as much as a they should," Trump told the audience at the Faith & Freedom Coalition meeting in Washington, D.C. "They go to church every Sunday, but they don't vote. And we have to make sure they vote. Just this time. Because all you have to do is this time. You don't have to worry about it because we're going to straighten it out very fast.

"Do you know the power you have if you would vote?" Trump urged the crowd, which is largely in favor of a national abortion ban.

Trump's stated opposition to signing a nationwide ban on abortion and his reluctance to detail some of his views on the issue are at odds with many members of the evangelical movement, a key part of Trump's base that's expected to help him turn out voters in his November rematch with Biden.

While Trump nominated three of the Supreme Court justices who overturned a federally guaranteed right to abortion, he has argued supporting a national ban would hurt Republicans politically. About two-thirds of Americans say abortion should generally be legal, according to polling last year by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said people in his movement would like to see a federal ban on abortion and want Republican elected officials to be "profiles in courage" who are "articulating their strongly held pro-life views."

But, Reed said, Trump's positions do not put him at risk of losing any of the deep support of evangelical voters who give him "more slack in the rope than they would likely give another politician."

"I don't think it's going to hurt him at all because he's got enormous credibility on this issue," Reed said. "He did more for the pro-life and pro-family cause than any president we've ever had in the history of the movement."

According to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging 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. White evangelical Christians made up about 20% of the overall electorate that year.

Beyond just offering their own support in the general election, Reed's group plans to help get out the vote for Trump and other Republicans, aiming to use volunteers and paid workers to knock on millions of doors in battleground states.

While he still takes credit for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Trump has also warned abortion can be tricky politically for Republicans. For months he deferred questions about his position on a national ban.

Last year, when Trump addressed Reed's group, he said there was "a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life" but didn't offer any details beyond that.

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

In 2016, white evangelical Christians were initially reluctant to support Trump, who had at one point described himself as "very pro-choice."

But his promises to appoint justices to the court that would overturn Roe, along with his decision in 2016 to name Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate, helped him gain the movement's backing.

Several Republicans seen as potential running mates for Trump are also speaking at the conference, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, former presidential candidate and Trump Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake. Stefanik and Carson are among the Republicans who received vetting paperwork from the Trump campaign in recent weeks.

Reed said members of his coalition are watching them closely and looking for Trump to pick someone who shares his views.

"We're looking for somebody who will be a champion, a pro-family and pro-life and pro-Israel champion. And we're looking for someone who has the ability to bring some new folks into the fold and act as an ambassador for our values," he said.

Reed wouldn't name any of the field as strongest or weakest, calling it "an embarrassment of riches."

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

Newsmax staffer Jack Gournell contributed.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday urged evangelicals to get out and vote in an election that has him neck and neck with President Joe Biden.
trump, evangelicals, voters, faith, freedom, presidential election
Saturday, 22 June 2024 12:47 PM
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