Seeking to unite evangelicals behind his reelection campaign, President Donald Trump hosted a rally at a Miami church on Friday evening to launch a new campaign coalition: “Evangelicals for Trump.”
Prior to taking the stage, over a dozen faith leaders laid hands on President Trump and prayed over him.
In front of more than 5,000 supporters, President Trump touted the importance of faith, religious freedom and life.
“There is no better place to begin the New Year than right here with so many friends and families, pastors and patriots who believe in the power of prayer, the majesty of creation and the love and grace of Jesus Christ,” President Trump declared.
Emphasizing the importance of religious freedom, President Trump said, “Before my election, religious believers were under assault like never before. Faith-based schools, charities, hospitals adoption agencies, business-owners and pastors were systematically targeted by federal bureaucrats in order to abandon their religious beliefs and stop serving their communities. But the day I took office, the federal government’s war on religion came to a very abrupt end.”
President Trump also spent several minutes emphasizing the number of young, conservative judges he has been able to appoint.
The President received one of his longest applauses after proclaiming, “We believe in the right to life.” He recalled as a “very important moment” in the 2016 debate between himself and Hillary Clinton when he affirmed his opposition to abortion and laws that allow preborn babies to be “ripped from their mother’s womb in the ninth month of pregnancy.”
He recounted how his administration reinstated the pro-life Mexico City Policy, asked Congress to prohibit late-term abortion, rescinded Title X funding from subsidizing Planned Parenthood ($60 million dollars’ worth) and stopped the federal funding of fetal tissue research.
During a particularly moving moment, President Trump invited two female students from Fresno University up on stage who are involved on their campus’ Students for Life club. One of the girls recounted how, after experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, she chose life for her baby due to the efforts of other pro-life students. “I decided to keep my baby, and I thank God for my daughter Eden who is now two years old and is the joy of my life,” the young woman said to thunderous applause.
The new coalition comes just weeks after an op-ed from the former editor of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, which called for the president’s removal from office due to his “immoral words and behavior.”
In response to the op-ed, almost 200 evangelical leaders condemned the piece and expressed gratitude that President Trump’s administration “has advanced policies that protect the unborn and promote religious freedom.”
Overwhelming support from evangelicals was key to President Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. According to Pew Research Center, 81% of white evangelicals voted to elect President Trump in 2016 while just 16% voted for Hillary Clinton.
Dan Cox, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told The Hill that he predicted evangelicals would rally once again around Trump come election time later this year. “Evangelicals are going to rally around and support him at least as much as they did in 2016,” Cox contended.
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