A top policy adviser to Donald Trump said today that the release of a tape of the candidate boasting about sexually assaulting women hasn’t deterred his evangelical supporters because they know that he is a “new Christian.”
Sam Clovis, Trump’s national co-chair and senior policy adviser, told conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher this morning that evangelical leaders are sticking with Trump after the release of the 2005 because they know that Trump has “revitalized his faith over just recent years.”
“I do think it’s very interesting that we see the strength of the evangelical leaders in the country that are supporting Mr. Trump, and they’ve not abandoned him at all,” Clovis said. “And I think a lot of it is because most of us who’ve gotten to know him know the journey that he’s been on to his faith, and I think that this is one of those episodes that occurred in a time in his life before he had turned the corner on this. And I think Jerry Falwell has said, and James Dobson and others have commented on the fact that he’s a new Christian. This is a person who’s revitalized his faith over just recent years.”
“And for many of us who’ve been on a faith journey for a long time,” he said, “we all understand this, we all understand how this evolves, and I think this is why evangelicals are sticking with him regardless of the gutter talk that took place on that set.”
If Clovis believes that Trump has newly found Christ, he must think that it happened very recently: As recently as last year, while he was working for Rick Perry’s GOP primary campaign, Clovis sent emails questioning Trump’s “moral center and his foundational belief” and saying that Trump’s “comments reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal.”
Clovis told Gallagher that it was, in fact, an interaction he had with Trump during Perry’s campaign that convinced him of the candidate’s moral fortitude. Clovis said that he told Trump he couldn’t work for him because he had made a commitment to Perry and Trump called him a “man of integrity.”
Trump, for his part, has never indicated that he is what James Dobson called a “baby Christian,” and has long identified as Presbyterian.