tv Washington Journal Stephen Mansfield CSPAN December 22, 2017 10:05am-10:37am EST
8:00 p.m. eastern. >> senior administration officials tell him a tax cut bill will be signed before departing the white house for mar-a-lago. to white house of event celebrate is slated for january 3. we will have that end of year news conference with mitch mcconnell in 25 minutes. until then, part of this morning's washington journal. joining us from nashville, tennessee is stephen mansfield with his book, "choosing donald trump." thank you for being with us. one year into his presidency, do they still support him? guest: not to the same strength as initially. there has been some drop-off, some buyers remorse. from evangelicals and
christians has dropped off. host: why? guest: different reasons. some of them do not like his manners. some do night like him picking a -- do not like him picking a fight with the mayor of san juan, puerto rico. a great deal did not like him 's.ling nfl players sob i imagine his stock will rise with religious conservatives given the recent tax bill, but i think and evangelicals -- evangelicals are like any other group and are perhaps souring a bit on donald trump. i think he has lost 10% to 15% of their support. host: you wrote a piece available on "the washington examiner" website. the following -- "american religious
conservatives are wed to donald trump and will be made to answer for the mores, the message, the machinations of the trump administration. perhaps it is just this connection to their seemingly untethered president that is causing some religious conservatives to have second thoughts, if he fails them and portrays their dutch betrays their vision, the banner of religious conservatives may be forced from the field of american cultural battle for a generation or more." howt: we have to realize much full throated support donald trump had from religious conservatives. he cold 81% of white evangelicals, half of roman catholics, and half of church contenders. some of the most prominent voices were absolutely in support of donald trump and engaged in a religious rebranding of him. a said he was churchill, lincoln, darius the great.
some said he was ronald reagan. they did not say, we are happy with a few of his policies but are concerned about his personality and raw manner. they all must joined his pr team and got in bed with him. they own him. we got into the trump presidency with evangelicals aligned with trump, and you have seen the articles. trumpre anything donald could do that would lose him evangelicals support? are they completely supportive of him? the answer has been, donald trump gives us access no other president has. it feels transactional, like there is a bit of a deal, so in the popular understanding of the electorate, no question that evangelicals and religious conservatives own donald trump. they are responsible for him, and if he fails them, they will suffer serious damage.
we are seeing a bit of that with millennials and evangelicals of color. or is a bit of fraying of the coalition, so there will be some payback if this goes badly. host: one of the points from the book -- and these are your words -- "america's christian core is in crisis. they have chosen a candidate whose personal life is in conflict with the values they present." you are calling it a controversial book. guest: i think i am reporting the fact. , no americanl religious conservative would have gone into a laboratory and come out with donald as the ideal candidate. for years, religious conservatives have talked about the personal morality of presidents and people they supported, have wanted godly people. now they have donald trump, a man who may be on some type of
christian religious journey of his own, but throughout most of his life has not been an exemplary of the values that religious conservatives hold. now they have got a man that they are happy with because he is championing some of their political values, but at a personal level, marriages, affairs, language, he is not the exemplar of what they believe, so they are doing a bit of a balancing act that is fraught with danger for them. it has a threat. it is a difficult dance for them to do, and i think we have seen this in some other religious leaders. it is a tough issue for them and has definitely brought division, not just families who do not have thanksgiving and christmas together. 81% of white evangelicals supported donald trump but evangelicals of color, i have heard them say, i guess it did not matter to you that this man was a racist, or millennials say
how could you possibly support this man in the name of jesus christ who you say you follow and not recognize how raw and crass and violent he is? there are fractures happening in the religious conservative world over donald trump. .ost: two other points the role of the vice president, mike pence, who is in afghanistan meeting with the troops. how significant was his selection in this role in the white house? guest: very significant from a religious perspective. towas sort of the guaranteed trump's religious base that he was serious about winning them and hearing their counsel. catholic is a roman who names himself as an evangelical, which means he is conservative in his theology and faith, that he would be at donald trump's elbow guaranteed them they would have more than just a voice but some power
within the administration. this was extremely important to religious conservatives. host: as you and so many others have mentioned, you could not have two more difficult -- different people in terms of their personal lives in donald trump and mike pence. guest: there is some evidence that trump has in recent years begun a more conservative religious journey. he had always been to church, he was raised presbyterian. he was not much of a churchgoer in his middle life. he was not a very religious man. he would make statements about things like adultery being ok, but in recent years he has been under the influence of religious conservative leaders, and seems to be on a jury -- journey towards a deeper religious journey. this made him value a man like donald trump. you have two men who are very different, lived different lives
and draw attention for different reasons, but this is evidence i think of a shift in values in donald trump in the last decade or so. schedules, upon his we do not see him going to church often. guest: he talks about his christianity and bible reading, stopped pastoring the church, donald trump stopped going to church regularly. he is not making the effort to at least appear to be in church regularly as other presidents have done. host: let me ask you about the race in alabama and roy moore. president trump supporter -- supported luther strange and he lost. hist of questions about personal life and what happened in his 30's with allegations of teenagers in the 1970's and
tell youhat does that about the president and evangelicals in that race in particular among alabama republicans? caller: -- guest: i think evangelicals who have a moral grid had to hold their nose to support roy moore. no one was happy about it, but there was a lot in the balance. to lose a seat would lock up the senate, so people stuck with roy moore wondering if the allegations were true and wondering if some of the women were not put up to the allegations they were making. i frankly think roy moore should have stepped down and let another man run for office, but nobody i know in d.c. was that happy about roy moore. most of them were holding their nose and supporting him, not because he was first for morality but rather because they needed the help in the senate. host: stephen mansfield, the
book is "choosing donald trump." tim is joining us from minnesota, independent line. caller: good morning. i knew that i was not going to vote for this guy when i saw his first rally. he was inciting violence. there was a protester in their and a donald trump supporter popped him in the face. i heard donald trump say, get him out of here, i will pay your legal bills. i am surprised that the evangelicals and anybody that calls themselves a christian is going to support the sky. here are these little soundbites, let trump be trump. no, i do not like the guy. i think he is a violent man. i think he is unstable. everything he does, he seems to divide people.
anyway, that is my comment. host: thank you. stephen mansfield, any response? guest: yes, i do. the caller is absolutely correct about donald trump inciting violence. we may not like it, we may want to overlook it in some people, but the fact is at his rallies he offered to pay the legal fees for people beating up on protesters. he did mouth from the stage on more than one occasion, i will kick your --, letting them know that he personally would do the violence. he said when people were hitting each other and police were trying to pull them apart, he said nobody wants to hurt each other today. call it irresponsible, call it off-the-cuff, but the caller is right. there is a difference between the christianity that donald trump espouses and supports with men like mike pence, and things
that happened during his rallies. -- "donaldyour book trump was carried into the white house by an angry tribe. a felt themselves being sidelined by history and fear their country was slipping away. they want to change, at nearly any cost, and they looked beyond more experienced candidates to set their sights on the billionaire from new york. he won them by promising to give their country back to them and to win a future for their children. they believed him largely because of he spoke of faith like crusader, like one who understood." strife ofre is a american society, a portion of american society that celebrates the very things that folks in other parts of the country decry about donald trump. that he was violent, that he was wrong come of that he was harsh,
that he was willing to whip up on protesters, that he spoke in angry terms, this was all positive. a chapter in the book, i talk about the fact that people in the media and up north where i live might decry donald trump for some of his anger and crassness and harshness, but average americans, especially conservatives and southern americans, this is how they speak around their table. they felt comfortable with him. they were as angry as he was. they sometimes speaking -- speak about, sometimes a man needs a beating. they have perhaps nominally racist attitudes they are not that proud of, but when you hear donald trump speak, it sounds like for many americans what goes on around their breakfast table. these factors that make him a pariah a run -- among more
sophisticates, makes him more like us to some portions of the country. i think that is the dichotomy. the book "hillbilly elegy" explains a slice of a disenfranchised, angry class, mainly white that came out for donald trump because they feel these very things. the crass ore was, he was, the harsher he was, even nominally racist or violent, they resonated with all of this. his anger sounded a trumpet call to them and they showed up. host: our next caller is from portage, michigan, gary on the republican line. caller: i would like to go back to puerto rico. i find it hard to believe that a country that is smaller than the upper peninsula, there is 3.5
million people. there are $120 million in debt and because he got angry about billionhem another $900 -- i meant to say $120 billion -- i would say those people are pretty irresponsible. he was tagged as a racist because he got mad at the governor. there is three ways to create wealth -- mine it, build it, or grow it. they will be $200 billion in debt if he gives them more money. someone should have said, you are like $500 million in debt, these people are carrying us. maybe you should get a job or quit having so many children or whatever their issue is. it is just hard. trump, i appreciated him in his job and now pence.
i have never heard the guy say anything i did not like, and i do not believe he has ever slugged anybody. if i was at any of those rallies, i would have felt like slugging somebody. those people that were heckling deserve to get -- host: thank you for the call. guest: i certainly think there is some economic issues for us to work out with puerto rico. that is an unsettled situation and sure, there is a deficit. the time to a dress that is not when the female mayor of san inn is standing elbow deep the waters of hurricane irma. when donald trump takes her on, says she is being put up by democrats, i am going to use the words that a lot of americans roll their eyes at, the optics are not good. that is not a moment to pick a fight. if we are going to solve the
problems of puerto rico, whatever it is you want to do, do that at another time, but not when people are dying, starving, living off of bologna sandwiches for a month at a time, etc.. one not taking a side, but of the moments in the first year of the trump presidency that has caused him to lose some supporters. do not pick on people when they are drowning, no matter what you might be right about. you simply look like a bully and that is how he came off. he definitely lost support among evangelicals. host: here is the headline -- my -- white evangelicals love trump. the president does not come off as particularly religious but he has specifically courted evangelical leaders. here is what the president said. >> the american founders invoked our creator four times in the
declaration of independence, four times. [applause] , but you have changed know what? now they are changing back again. just remember that. applause]d benjamin franklin reminded his colleagues at the constitutional convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment of the bill of rights, and we all very, verygiance to
beautifully, "one nation under god." this is america's heritage. a country that never forget that we are all, all, everyone of us, made by the same god in heaven. [applause] when i came to speak with you last year, i made you a promise. well, one of the promises i made you was that i would come back. see? [cheers and applause] and i do not even need your vote this year. that is even nicer. but i pledge that in a trump administration, our nation's religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never
seen before. that is what is happening. host: president trump in october at the value voters conference, and stephen mansfield, what did you hear? guest: what i hear are those tones being sounded that could easily have come from ronald reagan, could easily have come from george w. bush, and from presidents on the other side of the spectrum. that is the standard tone that is sounded -- and bill clinton. when you want to say, i understand our religious heritage, i understand the intentions of the founding fathers, and i will champion those, we have heard that a lot from our president. two things make it especially poignant coming from donald trump. what we have been discussing, his own lifestyle. you would not expect -- some people have called him the pagan baller from new york who took no
prisoners, to be espousing these values. we have to understand that for the average religious conservative, by the time you came to the 2016 election, they had experienced eight years of what they considered to be a traumatic barack obama administration. they felt like there had been a war on christianity. this language have been used. there were threats against the green family of hobby lobby. there had been legal threats against small orders of nuns. there had been a strident pro-abortion agenda, a strident lb gt agenda, all of that very traumatic to religious conservatives. saw thened and likelihood of a hillary clinton presidency and saw eight more years of the same, so they were ready for anyone who would win. this is sweet music to their years. this is sweet music to those who
thought they would not hear those words coming from a chief executive, because this is not the way that barack obama and hillary clinton speak. all of that to say that the applause you hear and the attitudeon is the surfacing that donald trump may not be the ideal christian man. he may not be the holiest president we have ever had, but at least they would say he shares, understands and shares our values on these all-important religious liberty and heritage issues. souls, manna to their healing to their souls given what they think they have been through. host: a tweet from mary -- i actually know why evangelicals support trump. it is a false church that follows him, one based on the prosperity gospel. i want to share with you some exit poll numbers from "the washington post" on the 2016
election. white evangelicals supported donald trump at the rate of 80%. the protestant non-evangelicals supporting clinton at 39%. the self-described jewish faith, 21% for trump. those who are mormon said 61% for donald trump. guest: this is part of the divide that you see. churchople speak of "the " or religious americans or religious conservatives, they are not aware there are divisions within those factions that often are not discussed. all evangelicals did not go for donald trump. we see the jewish and mormon communities divided. i said earlier that half of all regular churchgoers in america went for trump, but half of all regular churchgoers did not support donald trump.
we have a great many divisions within the religious community and the united states, and donald trump put his foot right on those divides. he is very polarizing. there is a great deal of tension. i can name churches that have split, denominations in tension over these issues. religion is one of the great fault lines and american culture that donald trump exacerbates, however inadvertently. host: tongue in cheek, this is for one -- from one viewer -- look what president obama did for the republic of iran. you can respond if you want. guest: i wrote the book, "the faith of barack obama," and i thought the claim that he was a closet muslim and all of these assumptions about his closeted
cash -- he reached out to the muslim world and seemed to be ever apologizing and ever reaching to what americans considered our enemies. the fact that he was apologizing to the u.s. and attempting to bolster the world, i think that comes not from the fact that he is a closeted muslim but from his religious liberalism, that he sees islam is equal to christian. many americans do not see it as an equally valid religion and are surprised when the president makes that case. host: a treat -- tweet from skeets -- i am sorry all of you
do not appreciate that mr. trump is making america great again. sort of theis the bottom line for people who support trump. we can put up with his divorces, has language, we do not mind if he threatens a protester or two, especially if they have darker skin, we do not care if he is raw or engages in petty twitter wars. and we haveis great a conservative on the supreme court and he is making america great. that message, simple as it is, again,ake america great i do not want to say that as an excuse but it is the basis, the force, the idea, the concept that causes many americans, religious conservatives among them to overlook any flaw donald trump might have if indeed he will make america great again.
tensionalso part of the within the religious community, is that not a form of idolatry? is that not over excusing a man who is doing damage in other areas, though he may be making military and economic progress? host: giving a sense of where the president is as he returns for his state of the union, he says -- at some point and for the good of the country, i predict we will start working with the democrats in a bipartisan fashion. infrastructure will be a perfect place to start. after having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the middle east, it is time to start rebuilding our country! dave in washington, d.c., democrats line. caller: good morning, how are you? you mentioned that mr. trump has recently in the last few years,
as you put it, been on a "religious journey." this is a man who according to "the washington post," lied about 2000 times during the first six months of his presidency. 30 times a day during the campaign. he sat on the access tape that he could grab a woman by the p-- , you can do that if you are a star. and in charlottesville, encouraged nazi-ism, saying there were many good people amongst them. this is an ideology that is explicitly nonreligious and that explicitly encourages the extermination of entire races. so if we look at this man with those actions, and consider him as being on a religious journey, that is a very strange religion. i think we would have to call it
the religion of narcissism. host: thank you. stephen mansfield? guest: i agree with everything the caller says about the facts. there is no question, trump said all of that. to some degree, he is under the influence of some people like paula white and dr. jeffers and others that he listens to. he is by all accounts deepening and his faith. he is receiving correction from then, i will be the -- use the "mentorn toward." -- ed." i agree with the caller about the lies, and "the washington post" is my hometown newspaper. this is donald trump and i cannot reconcile those two. you have a man who makes the kind of statements that we just heard, who says he is a champion
of religious liberty, who talks about the gospel of jesus, a war on christmas, the johnson amendment, and at the same time will lie apparently according to the post and at the same time will treat anti-white supremacist protesters and white supremacist protesters at the same level of culpability. i cannot reconcile that, but i can report it. you have two things happening at donald the crass, harsh trump, and a man that is definitely by all accounts on a deeper religious journey. welcome to the more -- world of donald trump. typical "christian values," it is -- when there is a "good man" in a stolen supreme court seat. that seat remaining vacant until after the election.
guest: you have to understand, if you survey most religious conservatives in america, particularly evangelicals, the thing they have their eye on the most is the supreme court. they feel they have been most abortion,alking about same-sex marriage, religious liberty hit, most of that comes from the supreme court. most would say they would put up with almost anything from donald trump if he would help turn the tide on the court. neil gorsuch is the symbol, the promise, and the hope, and they are hoping for two or three more during the trump administration. mansfield, a hypothetical. if you look ahead to 2020 and if senate democrats r >>