Friday, November 25, 2016

Christian leaders see influence growing under Trump

'If he fulfills the promises he’s made, he could be the most pro-life president since Reagan,' one social conservative said of Trump

By Katie Glueck

Social conservatives got Donald Trump into the White House. Now, they expect him to deliver.

In conversations on Capitol Hill, donor meetings in Texas and behind closed doors at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia, socially conservative leaders are cheering Trump’s election and already moving to hold him accountable to the myriad campaign promises he made to Christian voters.

“Donald Trump is not the candidate pro-lifers would have chosen, and he understood that, and he did outreach,” said Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the anti-abortion rights group March for Life. McClusky, who has been critical of Trump in the past, continued, “If he fulfills the promises he’s made, he could be the most pro-life president since Reagan.”
Trump, a thrice-married, onetime New York liberal who has said he has never asked God for forgiveness, was an uncomfortable fit for Christian leaders throughout much of the campaign. But he won over many of them with a pledge to appoint only Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion rights, and he solidified that support in September by releasing a detailed letter that spelled out four policy promises, all tied to curtailing abortion rights. He went on to win 81 percent of the evangelical vote, a higher percentage than George W. Bush, himself a born-again Christian, landed in 2004.

Some of Trump’s pledges, particularly the stipulations concerning Supreme Court appointments, go further than previous Republican nominees have made, and that has earned Trump a reservoir of goodwill with many evangelical leaders. They say they have every reason to believe—and expect—that he will follow through on those promises. After all, evangelicals were a key part of Trump’s coalition—and, they argue, he knows it.

“The good news is, it’s not ‘us’ and ‘them,’ it’s just ‘us,’” agreed Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, in a conversation between donor visits in Texas. “I remember four years ago, hearing ‘elections have consequences,’ and being deeply troubled and annoyed. Now, I’m saying the same thing. We have every reason to be celebrating.”
Politico story continues

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