CNN's Chris Cuomo seemed perplexed that evangelicals support President Trump, arguing that they only support him because "he's right on abortion."
During Wednesday’s edition of New Day, Cuomo interviewed David Brody, author of the new book, The Faith of Donald J. Trump. Throughout the segment, he made it clear that President Trump’s support among evangelicals baffled him, citing the Access Hollywood tape and accusations of an extramarital affair as reasons why they should not support him.
At one point, Cuomo suggested that Brody and the evangelicals have given him “a really low bar” and asked “Why does the community give him so much forgiveness? The supposition is, because he’s right on abortion; at the end of the day politically, that’s all the community cares about.”
Brody responded by saying “when it comes to evangelicals though, they’re looking at the macro view here. They understand that man is fallible, they understand that man sins, women sin, all of us sin.” He cited the President’s stances on life and judges as examples of what constitutes the “macro view.”
Cuomo’s comments add to a long pattern of attacking conservatives for their pro-life stance on abortion. During an interview with Republican Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio in 2015, Cuomo told the Florida Senator that his position that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including rape and incest, “seems very backward-looking in terms of the cultural mores that we have today.” A heated debate about the science behind the beginning of life ensued, with Cuomo arguing that “science has not decided” that life begins at conception. Cuomo tried to paint Rubio’s position as radical again during an interview with then-candidate Donald Trump the following week.
In addition to his hostility to the pro-life movement, Cuomo has also demonstrated hostility toward religion in general. During a 2014 interview with a lawyer for The Alliance Defending Freedom, Cuomo accused supporters of a proposed religious liberty bill in Arizona of wanting to “enforce intolerance.” Many states put forth religious liberty bills after watching Christians in other states face lawsuits for refusing to bake cakes for same-sex marriages.
The media’s hostility toward religion should not come as a surprise. During yesterday’s edition of The View, Joy Behar suggested that Vice President Mike Pence suffers from a mental illness because he said that Jesus talks to him. Nearly the entire View panel seemed to agree with Omarosa’s characterization of the Vice President’s religious views as “extreme.” Perhaps that word could more effectively describe the media’s views of religious people.
CNN's New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: That was President Trump speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast. When the President was elected, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported him despite a lot about what is known about him and his character, notably the Access Hollywood tape controversy and now the President faces accusations that he slept with an adult film actress. So what is the standard of approval by that community? Joining us now is Chief Political Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody. He is the author of the new book The Faith of Donald J. Trump about the President’s spiritual journey. I have it in my lap. Let’s deconstruct it. What is your premise? How do you cast President Trump as a moral authority and a man of God?
DAVID BRODY: Well, first of all, it’s not necessarily what we are saying with those words necessarily. We’re taking other folks, journalistically through the book, whether it be a lot of folks, spiritual advisers that have been very close to him throughout the last few years and we noticed he’s on a spiritual journey. And there is a lot of stories in the book, Chris, that tell the other side of the story. So for example, I mean, to use a television analogy if you will, look, if there’s a 25-second sound bite, okay, we’ve heard the 11 seconds of Russia and all the other stuff. This is the other 14 seconds or this is the other part of the sound bite that gives you a full picture. You know, Walter Cronkite actually said, in seeking the truth you have to get both sides of the story. That’s Walter Cronkite saying...This book gives the other side of the story.
CUOMO: What is the other side of the story? Because look, you may say it’s not what we’re trying to do or it’s not what it’s about, it’s subtle, there’s context, balance, whatever. At the end of the day, the book is making the suggestion that President Trump is on a spiritual journey, he’s a man of faith. What evidence do you see of that?
BRODY: Definitely a spiritual journey. Remember, it’s called The Faith of Donald Trump, it’s not called “The Sainthood of Donald Trump.” It’s very important, we don’t gloss over anything, we go back to the seventies and eighties...
CUOMO: But where is the proof of improvement, is what I’m saying.
BRODY: Well, there’s a couple of different things. First of all, stories in the book will show a relational aspect that he has with evangelical leaders, just them by themselves. We can go into other things. But for example, James Robison, and these are once again, relational stories in the book but James Robison and Donald...James Robison is a televangelist.
CUOMO: Sure, sure.
BRODY: With Donald Trump. Look, they were on a tarmac in Pensacola, Florida; they’re praying in the SUV. They are during the campaign trail, afterwards, James Robison and Trump get out, Trump hugs him and says “I love you so much. I really love you.” These are li...Donald Trump saying I love you is probably breaking news right there. We’ve heard many times where he’s said I’m sorry. There are stories in the book about that. All this like, other part, that you never hear about Donald Trump. But beyond that, there are spiritual advisers close to him saying that he seeks them for prayer. And we go through it in the book. And so, you don’t hear about any of these stories, we thought it was important to tell.
CUOMO: Right and the question is how much of it is really a measure of this man, or are you just giving him a really low bar? Because it seems like the evangelical community prizes beliefs and behavior that this President does not exhibit and frankly has never exhibited. So, how do you overcome what he says about people, what he expresses in terms of a lack of compassion for people? A man who’s said he’s never had to ask God for forgiveness. I have never heard that from any person of faith in my life. The allegations from the “Access Hollywood” tape. Why does the community give him so much forgiveness? The supposition is, because he’s right on abortion; at the end of the day politically, that’s all the community cares about.
BRODY: A quick clarification on the forgiveness comment. Everybody goes back to Frank Luntz. A month later, I talked to Donald Trump out on his golf course in California, did nine interviews with him and I asked him that same question. He did say, I do ask for forgiveness. He does, I mean, you’ve got to look it up. You can Google it, and as a matter of fact...
CUOMO: But he also said no because I’ve never needed anything, I’ve never needed forgiveness for anything.
BRODY: But he talks about communion, other ways. Anyhow, I don’t want to get into that but the...because he said...
CUOMO: Do you believe he goes to church regularly?
BRODY: Well, he does...well, he goes to church. Let me tell you this...
CUOMO: Well, you certainly don’t have the Sunday church cams that we used to have.
BRODY: We have stories. First of all, please understand that, you know, he can come on and defend himself on his church attendance.
CUOMO: I know but you’re setting yourself up for this by doing the book, that’s why I’m asking you the questions.
BRODY: Understand, when it comes to evangelicals though, they’re looking at the macro view here. They understand that man is fallible, they understand that man sins, women sin, all of us sin. So the other side here, is that there’s going to go to the macro view. What does that mean? Life, judges, all of that. And they believe there is morality in the macro view rather than getting caught up in the micro view of the candidate.
CUOMO: But at the end of the day, the measure is not what you say, it’s what you do. And do you believe as an evangelical that Donald Trump represents what you want to see in a leader?
BRODY: I will tell you this. To show that God has a sense of humor, he decided to, out of all people, evangelicals, get behind Donald Trump and he becomes this culture warrior. That proves that God has a sense of humor for sure. In the book, we interviewed the President in the oval office. Sorry, Michael Wolff but we actually did an interview with the President. And, two, with the Vice President as well. Bob Costa in the book for The Washington Post, many respected...Hugh Hewitt. I mean, there was a lot of folks, this is a deep dive looking at his religious background as it relates to his Lutheran roots on the German side, father. Mother, Presbyterian. And by the way, a story in there about how he actually, apparently has some DNA in him that has some Viking blood in him, which is, shouldn’t be shocking. He probably wears it as a badge of honor too.