WASHINGTON – On Sunday, CBS’s “60 Minutes” will broadcast its controversial interview with Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who alleges a 2006 affair with President Donald Trump.
Trump denies the allegations.
Ahead of the interview, many faith leaders are voicing their support for the president.
“Christians want the president to be pastoral. We like that but that isn’t really the job assignment,” National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson told CBN News. “People knew the accusations against the president before he was elected and they said, ‘Actually, we care about security. Actually, we care about the economy.’ “
Johnson added that Christians “should identify with Christ” before any politician and called his vote in the 2016 election a “prudential” one.
“You’ve got to vote. You have a choice. Who are you going to vote for?” Johnson said. “I voted for Mr. Trump. I don’t regret that vote. I don’t think Christians who voted for him regret that vote. We knew this was in the past, but his job is to keep us safe and to keep the government out of the way of business so the economy can grow and I think he’s doing that.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, echoed the same sentiment to CBN News and said Trump should be judged on his behavior and accomplishments in office.
“To date, what has the president done?” Perkins asked. “The president has not engaged, to our knowledge, and I think we would know, in any of the behavior that he did in the past, prior to the election. What he has done is he’s actually followed through on political promises.”
But not all conservatives stand behind the president.
In a statement to CBN News, Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and outspoken Trump critic, criticized evangelicals who continue to support Trump.
“I think that Donald Trump is following the Bill Clinton playbook — deny, delay, dismiss, discredit,” Gerson said. “But while many evangelicals tried to hold Clinton to moral account, now many are complicit in Trump’s strategy because he holds more of their political views. This is shockingly cynical.”
“The Trump evangelicals may think they are being political realists. What they are actually doing is trashing the reputation of evangelicalism in the broader culture,” he charged.
In a statement to CBN News, Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host and another Trump critic, called on evangelicals to pray for Trump.
“The president’s administration has done a lot of good for conservatives, but the Stormy Daniels story should remind us he, like all of us, struggles with sin,” Erickson said.
“Unfortunately, there seem to be a great many evangelicals who are so excited by what they’re getting from this president, they have forgotten to pray for his repentance,” he continued. “Too many evangelicals in the president’s orbit are unwilling to call their friend to repent. Too many are trying to find ways to excuse him. The president’s soul is at stake. He needs to repent, as do we all.”