Trump asks rally: Can non-‘Christian conservatives’ stay?
search
Quixotic queryQuixotic query

Trump asks rally: Can non-‘Christian conservatives’ stay?

Republican nominee seeks to shore up support from evangelical voting bloc; says in jest what critics claim defines his candidacy

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on September 14, 2016 in Canton, Ohio. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on September 14, 2016 in Canton, Ohio. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — Republican nominee Donald Trump jokingly singled out people who were not “Christian conservatives” at a rally Wednesday afternoon, asking his supporters if they “should keep them in the room?”

While the comment was undoubtedly made in jest, Trump immediately drew scorn from critics, who have cited his campaign as fostering an environment of bigotry and exclusion.

The controversial candidate’s calls for temporarily banning Muslim entry into the United States, building a wall along the US-Mexico border and creating a mass deportation force for undocumented immigrants are chief among the reasons he has elicited such accusations.

At the campaign gathering in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Trump was commending a “Christian Conservatives for Trump” group in attendance before he summoned the crowd to identify themselves by their religious-political orientation.

“Raise your hand, Christian conservatives, everybody,” he said. “Raise your hand if you’re not a Christian conservative. I want to see this, right. Oh, there’s a couple people, that’s all right. I think we’ll keep them. Should we keep them in the room? Yes? I think so.”

Trump has previously said on the campaign trail he would give Christians more power and respect, telling evangelical pastors “we’re going to get your voice back” and repeatedly saying, “We’re going to protect Christianity.”

Trump’s campaign, which is often noted for its nationalistic inclination, has garnered the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, the head of the American Nazi Party and scores of self-proclaimed white supremacists.

The former reality television star’s latest remarks appeared to be lighthearted, and were part of his effort to mobilize Iowa’s evangelical voting bloc, which could potentially shift the balance of votes in that state this November.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments