Texas Sen. Ted Cruz should be used to winning the Values Voter Summit straw poll by now, but the guys who came in last can’t be used to losing. The closest Republican presidential candidates were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with 18 percent, and Huckabee, with 14 percent.
King said he wants to hear from the speaker candidates how they are going to address such issues as Planned Parenthood, the Iran nuclear deal, immigration and the Affordable Care Act. Trump was “reprimanded” by Summit attendees for his comments, he told reporters.
“I believe in God”.
Social conservatives are further vocalizing their support. He ended by bemoaning the increased use of the term “Happy Holidays” in place of “Merry Christmas” as a sign that Christianity is under attack.
The religious conservatives in attendance simply weren’t buying what Trump had to offer.
That appeared to be a flip-flop from his previous statements. He raised eyebrows in June when he said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, that he has never asked God for forgiveness and described Communion as “when I drink my little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and have my little cracker”.
“The word “Christmas” – I love Christmas”.
Some evangelical leaders are skeptical.
Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union, told The Hill on Friday before the straw poll that he wouldn’t be surprised if Cruz won, praising his performance.
The event, attended by 2,700 registered guests, was hosted by Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who said the results are a harbinger of what’s to come in the months ahead in the presidential election. Trump deserves credit for coming, Perkins said, and hopefully his presence will start a “conversation” with social conservatives.
Do you support Donald Trump’s no-nonsense candidacy? Trump has frequently made reference to attacks on Christians overseas and said that he will be a champion for religious liberty, including defending Christmas. Social conservatives said they trust Jindal and Santorum, but none of the latter three are gaining traction in the GOP presidential race.
While recent polls have shown Donald Trump leading with evangelical voters as well as across the board, he placed well outside of the top-tier.
Monday’s gathering is also not the first of its kind at Trump Tower.
“Before Sen. Cruz was ever thinking bout running for office … he was one of the best appellate attorneys in the country, and he was donating his time – literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of time – for religious freedom cases”, Shackelford said, noting their work together on legal proceedings around the case of the Mojave Memorial Cross.
Carson’s comments on immigrants stood in contrast to former Texas governor Rick Perry, who spoke moments before him and quoted Bible verses in calling on members of his party to strike a more welcoming tone to immigrants.