What Really Happened at Friday's 'Evangelicals for Trump' Meeting in Miami

(Religion News Service LLC)

President Donald Trump kicked off his "Evangelicals for Trump" coalition on Friday, at an event at a Pentecostal church in Miami. El Rey de Jesus, also known as King Jesus Ministries, is pastored by my friend Apostle Guillermo Maldonado.

It's no secret 82% of white evangelicals voted for the president; I've documented the reasons behind their support in my three books about Trump. But there is a strain of evangelicals who are Never Trumpers, and they have been in the news recently after a surprising op-ed in Christianity Today (CT) last month. But Trump never mentioned that editorial at Friday's event, other than to thank Franklin Graham—who criticized CT's editorial and said that its founder, Billy Graham, voted for Trump—for his recent support.

Trump did not mention the attack in Iraq on Qassem Soleimani, which happened the day before, except to refer to the brave men and women who defend our nation.

The most interesting omission was his impeachment. He behaved as though he wasn't concerned about it, focusing instead on the topics conservative Christians care most about. Those topics include the judges he's appointed, how he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognized the Golan Heights, and how he kept his promises to fight for religious liberty.

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In one of the biggest applause lines of the night, Trump said, "We worship God, not government." (That got a standing ovation.)

The President did focus on two recent news events—the Texas church shooting and the recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks. He also received standing ovations for his remarks on both subjects.

He said all Americans must stand in solidarity to oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms. He said he had signed an executive order to withhold federal funds to any college or university that allows anti-Semitic prejudice.

I've watched many Trump rallies on television, and I even attended in-person his June 17 Orlando rally, in which he officially announced his 2020 presidential run. That rally and Friday's event shared some similarities, like overflow crowds and enthusiastic response. But this one was more like a church service—almost as if he had visited a regular church service and talked about his view of America.

Trump has been wooing Hispanic voters, and I feel it was brilliant he chose a Pentecostal Hispanic church—one of the largest in the nation. Of course, the usual critics—such as the American Civil Liberties Union—objected to the use of a church. Maldonado even gave a disclaimer that the church didn't endorse any candidate; Trump had merely rented the church.

However, at this event, the Pentecostals were in charge, and some of the traditional Protestant attendees seemed a bit taken back by the enthusiastic music before the rally. Leaders began the rally with powerful charismatic prayers for the nation and for the president.

When the president spoke, he hit on all the points I've made in my books—how he has been a friend of Christians and a defender of our values with his Supreme Court appointments, his support for Israel, his support for religious liberty and much more.

A board has been appointed for this Evangelicals for Trump coalition. Since I'm not a member, I talked to a few afterward, and they believe support among Christians will be as high or higher than last time—regardless of the ways in which evangelical Never Trumpers are trying to make it look otherwise. I didn't see that sentiment evident on Friday in Miami.

My book, God, Trump and the 2020 Election, releases Jan. 14 and makes the case for Trump's reelection—mainly because of what's at stake for Christians if he loses. I've already started my book tour—in fact, I wrote this column from my phone on the road. Anyone who is interested in the book can preorder it at GodTrump2020.com. In addition, share this newsletter and listen to my podcast (embedded below), in which I make some additional observations from Friday's event and analyze what all this means.

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