The Religious Right’s praise for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new religious liberty task force at the Department of Justice this week included an appearance by Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on NRA TV with Dana Loesch.
Sessions’ task force is charged with overseeing the implementation of religious liberty guidelines for federal agencies that Sessions released last fall in response to an executive order Trump signed in May 2017.
“Anti-Christian bigotry has existed in the Department of Justice,” said Loesch, questioning the need for a task force to make sure that Justice Department employees are doing their jobs. “Why don’t we just fire them?” she asked. “I don’t really want a religious bigot in a place where they can affect everyone’s life and need a task force to make them do their jobs.”
Perkins praised the task force as another action the administration has taken to fulfill Trump’s promises. He called it a “massive clean-up” that he said is necessary because of the Obama administration’s “non-stop attacks on religious freedom.”
Perkins said that “the left” is “adamant against the first freedom”—meaning the First Amendment’s religion freedom protections—and he called for legislation to institutionalize Trump administration actions.
Perkins praised Sessions’ commitment to implementing Trump’s promises. But not all of Trump’s Religious Right loyalists are praising Sessions, who is often the target of Trump’s public ire. On Thursday morning, a day after Trump tweeted a demand that Sessions stop Robert Mueller’s investigation, Jerry Falwell Jr. directed an insulting tweet at Sessions:
Strangely @jeffsessions appeared unannounced at @LibertyU the night before the 2016 election on a bus tour. I told students but could get almost none of them to come hear him. Could it be our students were the first to see he was a phony pretending to be pro- @realDonaldTrump ?
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) August 2, 2018
Perhaps Falwell, who has defended Trump’s shenanigans and echoed administration attacks on the Mueller investigation from his perch atop one of America’s largest Christian universities, should be careful throwing around terms like “phony.”