Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed socially conservative attendees Friday afternoon (Sept. 9) at the Values Voter Summit, an annual political conference in Washington, D.C. The group's members hold strong anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage stances. "I got the Evangelicals," declared Trump.
Trump told attendees one of the greatest privileges he's on his presidential candidate journey is the time he spent with the Evangelical community. "The support they gave me during the primaries was absolutely incredible."
The event this year was held at the Omni Shore Hotel from Sept. 9-11.
"There are no more decent, devoted or selfless people than our Christian brothers and sisters here in the United States. True, so true, " said Trump, adding that he has witnessed "that generosity" across the land. He referenced the recent example of Christians racing to Louisiana to help flood victims. He specifically called out Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, for the assistance to Louisiana.
"It's that spirit of giving we need to rebuild this country, which is in serious, serious trouble," said the GOP candidate.
Trump said he's told by many parents it is getting increasingly difficult to raise a Christian family in today's "media environment."
"Your values of love, charity and faith built this nation," said Trump, who alleges the U.S. media treat people of faith poorly.
He said politicians have abandoned people of faith to a large extent. "A Trump Administration, our Christian heritage, will be cherished, protected and defended, like you've never seen before. Believe me. And that includes religious liberty."
Trump recalled details from his recent visit to a church in Detroit, Great Faith Ministries International, echoing his prior references to the "unbreakable spirit and faith" of African-Americans being the conscience of society over time. He said the power of faith enables all people to live better lives.
Trump said Americans are living in a very divided nation. "It will be faith in God, in His teachings, and in each other that will lead us back to unity."
He outlined things people can do together to create a great American future:
1. Give their churches their voice back. "All religious leaders should be able to express their thoughts and feelings freely." He said he would repeal the Lyndon "Johnson Amendment" if he is elected. The Johnson Amendment was a change in the U.S. tax code made in 1954 that prohibited tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
2. Get out to vote Nov. 8, unlike four years ago.
3. Repeal and replace "government run health care."
4. Get students out of "trapped school choices" and what he called an education crisis, especially in inner cities.
He said his outline for a new civil rights agenda includes the right to a safe community, a great education and a secure job.