Trump backs Louisiana law requiring Ten Commandments in schools in address to influential evangelicals

Trump backs Louisiana law requiring Ten Commandments in schools in address to influential evangelicals

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Former President Donald Trump told a group of evangelicals that they “cannot afford to sit on the sidelines” of the 2024 election, imploring them at one point to “go vote, Christians, please!”

Trump also approved displaying the Ten Commandments in schools and elsewhere while speaking to a group of politically influential people. evangelical Christians Saturday in Washington. He drew applause as he invoked a new law signed in Louisiana this week that makes it the first state to require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all public school classrooms.

“Has anyone read 'Thou Shalt Not Steal'? I mean, has anyone read this incredible stuff? It's just incredible,” Trump said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting. “They don't want me to go up. It's a crazy world.”

Trump, a day earlier, 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, THAT'S WHY. READ IT, HOW CAN WE, AS A NATION, GO THERE???”

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

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

Federal ban on abortion

Trump's expressed opposition to the signature a national 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 is expected to help him turn out voters in his November rematch with the Democrats. President Biden.

But while many in the movement would like to see him do more to restrict abortion, they cheer him as the cause's top advocate for his role in appointing Supreme Court justices who overturned national abortion rights by 2022.

Trump highlighted that Saturday, saying, “We did something that was incredible,” but the issue would be left to the people to decide in the states.


What role will religious voters play in 2024?

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“Every voter has to go with their heart and do what's right, but we also have to be elected,” he said.

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

Last year, when Trump addressed the Faith and Freedom Coalition, he said there was “a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life,” but offered no details beyond this

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 national abortion ban if passed by Congress. He has still refused to detail his position on women's access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

Some anti-abortion activists, including Jocaved Torres, have said they will pressure Trump to support a federal ban.

“The people he's surrounded by are pro-life, so we're confident that, you know, he could change his mind,” Torres told CBS News at the Faith & Freedom Coalition event.

“There's a lot that the former president could do if he were returned to office just by executive action,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of Planned Parenthood.

Johnson says reproductive rights continue to drive support for Mr. Biden.

“The energy is on fire on the ground,” Johnson said. “People understand what it means to have a freedom taken away from them, especially one that we've enjoyed for nearly 50 years.”

Biden is expected to attack Trump as a threat to abortion rights during Thursday's presidential debate as both campaigns hope to reach undecided voters.

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

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

When Trump addressed Reed's group last year, he said there was “a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life,” but offered no 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 national abortion ban if passed by Congress. He has still refused to detail his position on women's access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

In 2016, white evangelical Christians were initially reluctant to support Trump, wary of his image as a twice-divorced New York tabloid celebrity who at one point described himself as “very much in favor of of choice”.

But his promises to appoint justices to the court who would overturn Roe, along with his decision in 2016 to nominate Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate, helped him win the movement's support.

Evangelical support

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. White evangelical Christians made up about 20% of the total electorate that year.

Beyond offering its own support in the general election, the Faith and Freedom Coalition plans to help get out the vote for Trump and other Republicans, aiming to use volunteers and paid workers to call millions of doors to battlefield states.

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

He portrayed Christianity as threatened by what he suggested was an erosion of the nation's freedom, law, and borders.

He returned several times during his roughly 90-minute remarks to the issue of the US-Mexico border, and at one point, when he described the migrants crossing it as “tough,” joked that to 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 regular league of fighters. And then you have the champion of your league, these are the best fighters in the world, fighting the migrant champion,'” Trump described. telling White. “I think the migrant could win, that's how tough they are. He didn't like that idea too much.”

His story drew laughter and applause from the crowd.

Several Republicans considered potential running mates for Trump also spoke at the conference, including New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Trump's former presidential candidate and Housing Secretary Ben Carson, and Arizona Senate candidate . Lake Kari Stefanik and Carson are among the Republicans who have received background checks from the Trump campaign in recent weeks.

Ralph Reed, the founder and president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said members of his coalition are watching closely and looking for Trump to pick someone who shares his views.

“We're looking for someone who is a champion, a pro-family, pro-life, pro-Israel champion. And we're looking for someone who has the ability to bring new people into the group and act as an ambassador for our values.” he said.

Reed wouldn't name either field as the strongest or weakest, calling it “an embarrassment of riches.”

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



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