Evangelical leaders of the church in America are organizing a political gathering that could prove more than a bit uncomfortable for President Trump. But more than that, there is broad concern about evangelical voter turnout in the midterm elections. This is what NPR reported on Friday:
“As allegations continue to swirl about the president and a payout to a porn star to cover up a sexual encounter, evangelical leaders are organizing a sit-down with President Trump in June, four sources with knowledge of the planned meeting tell NPR.
“We’re very concerned” about the allegations, said a leader of a faith-based ministry. The leader is involved in hosting the gathering, which organizers are aiming to take place June 19 at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The source said the combination of the Stormy Daniels sex-scandal allegations and Trump’s continued reputation for divisive rhetoric could suppress evangelical turnout in the November midterm elections.”
Organizers of the event are reportedly coordinating the schedule with the White House. They expect invitations will go out to “hundreds of conservative Christian pastors and political leaders in the coming days.” The president would, according to the plan, not only attend the gathering but also field questions from evangelical leaders in attendance for about 90 minutes.
A source for NPR said, “It is a concern of ours that 2018 could be very detrimental to some of the other issues that we hold dear.”
This move by evangelical leadership is counter to where the group has been previously. A month ago, megachurch leader Robert Jeffress, basically gave President Trump what some have said is a “pass.”
“Evangelicals still believe in the commandment: Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star,” Jeffress said in early March. “However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him…. Evangelicals knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy when they voted for Donald Trump.”
Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who is helping to organize the June event, was on a conservative radio talk show recently and said this:
“At no point in the conversations that we’ve had organizing this … [was there any] discussion at all about doing this to have a confrontational meeting with the president,” Perkins said. “It is not going to be a confrontational meeting with the president. That is just absolutely not true because that’s not what we are hearing. It might be what the media wants to take place, but it’s not going to happen.”