Today, CBN released the complete softball interview that Pat Robertson conducted with President Trump at the White House yesterday, during which Trump explained that he wants to get rid of the Johnson Amendment so that he can hear more from the right-wing pastors who love him.
The Johnson Amendment prevents tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from advocating for or against candidates for office and, back in May, Trump signed an executive order that instructed the “IRS to use maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment.”
But Trump told Robertson that that was just a start and that he is waiting for Congress to permanently repeal the Johnson Amendment because “the evangelicals were so great to me” during the election.
“People like you, that I want to hear from—ministers and preachers and rabbis and whoever it may be—they can speak,” Trump said. “You know, you couldn’t speak politically before, now you can. And I want to hear from you and others that we like. Franklin Graham … Robert Jeffress, who is such a great guy, Pastor Jeffress; he used to go on television, I didn’t know who he was and he was always speaking so well of me and, you know, you have so many people that I want to hear from. Now they’re going to be able to speak and that’s going to be a great thing for Christianity, believe me. A great, great thing. And it’s a great thing for religion.”
“They were destroying religious liberty” until he took office, Trump said, but now “you will be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again very soon.”
Trump, of course, did not seem to be aware of the obvious disconnect between his claim that the Johnson Amendment must be repealed because it supposedly muzzles pastors from speaking about politics and his other claim that he saw Robert Jeffress on television all the time discussing political issues and heaping praise on him.