Trump’s evangelical advisers sticking with him
New York — One of President Donald Trump’s most steadfast constituencies has been standing by him amid his defense of a white nationalist rally in Virginia, even as business leaders, artists and Republicans turn away.
Only one of Trump’s evangelical advisers has quit the role, while presidential boards in other fields saw multiple defections before being dismantled. The Rev. A.R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn and one of the most influential clergymen in New York, announced his decision Friday night, saying “there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.”
Trump’s evangelical advisers have strongly condemned the bigotry behind the Charlottesville march by white nationalists and neo-Nazis over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. But regarding Trump, they have offered either praise for his response or gentle critiques couched within complaints about how he has been treated by his critics and the media.
Like other presidents before him, Trump has turned to religious leaders for counsel and support. His faith advisers include pastors who had worked with his campaign, and now pray with him and consult with his staff on issues ranging from religious liberty in the U.S. to the persecution of Christian minority populations in the Middle East.
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and an early backer of Trump, said the president had made a “bold truthful statement” about the demonstration. Falwell said the president’s remarks were a clear repudiation of white supremacists, Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Johnnie Moore, a public relations executive, faith adviser to Trump and a spokesman for several other such evangelicals advisers, said, “The president is certainly guilty of being insensitive,” but that the media and critics of the president have ignored his other comments.