U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday listed steps his administration had taken to bolster conservative causes and oppose abortion, warning evangelical voters that it all could change very quickly with the “wrong person” in the White House.
Trump’s remarks came in a speech kicking off a four-day faith conference that highlights top issues for evangelical voters, who are among his most loyal supporters and vital to his 2020 re-election bid.
“We’ve done things that are so good and so righteous and also so fragile,” he said. “The wrong person in office, in this office right here, can change it very quickly.”
He cited his administration’s steps to cut federal funding for fetal tissue research and boost other anti-abortion efforts, among other things.
Trump also took a shot at former Senator John McCain, who passed away last year, during his remarks. While discussing legislation that didn't make it throught Congress, Trump noted "We needed 60 votes and we had 51 and sometimes we had a hard time with a couple" - referring to McCain in the U.S. Senate.
Trump then said, "They've gone on to greener pastures. Or perhaps far less green, but they're gone. Very happy they're gone.” CNN's Daniel Dale makes the point that given the "ambiguity" of Trump's comments he could also be referring to former Senators Bob Corker or Jeff Flake - who where anti-Trump Republicans.
However, Vox's Aaron Rupar argues that "Given Trump’s long history of feuding with McCain, even continuing to criticize him after the senator’s death, and the anger he’s repeatedly expressed in particular with McCain’s ACA vote, it’s hard to imagine he was referring to anyone else."
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Trump addressed this year’s Faith & Freedom Coalition policy conference for the sixth time and his second as president. Trump called it the largest faith-based get-out-the-vote group in the country.
The president said that when he ran in 2016, “Americans of faith were under assault. But the shameful attempt to suppress religious believers ended the day I took the oath of office.”
Chairman Ralph Reed, a prominent GOP evangelical strategist, praised Trump for getting two Supreme Court justices confirmed and called Trump pro-Israel and “pro-life.”