-- Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is making new efforts to reach out to Christian voters, introducing an evangelical advisory board and holding a private meeting today with religious leaders to recommend they pray to get “everybody out to vote.”
“I think people who are saying let’s pray for our leaders; you can pray for your leaders and I agree with that; pray for everyone,” Trump said today at the Marriott Marquis hotel in New York City. “But what we really have to do is you have to pray to get everybody out to vote.”
He also insisted that people shouldn’t be politically correct and pray for all leaders, because those same leaders are selling Christianity and evangelicals “down the tubes.”
“She's been in the public eye for years and years and yet there's nothing out there,” Trump said of Clinton.
Trump addressed a group of about 100 religious leaders before he spoke at a larger private event, "A Conversation About America's Future with Donald Trump and Ben Carson,” hosted by two faith-based organizations: United in Purpose and My Faith Votes, of which Carson is the chairman.
Trump, who called himself a “tremendous believer,” assured religious leaders "I’m so on your side."
His newly announced board is expected to “provide advisory support to Trump on issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America,” according to a statement from the Trump campaign.
Its 25 members were “not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.”
“But Christianity; I owe so much to it in so many ways through life, through having incredible children. But I also owe it for, frankly, standing here,” Trump said today.
Eric Trump, the middle son of the New York real estate mogul, told ABC News, "I think every person in that room is voting for him. It was amazing spirit, religion is under fire in this country."
Trump then addressed the larger group of close to 1,000 people during a panel moderated by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
He spoke about his being against abortion, what he called Hillary Clinton's plan to "abolish the Second Amendment,” the military and appointing conservative judges, according to a source who was in the room.