My Meeting With Donald Trump—14 Things You Should Know

Craig Huey2016 Presidential Election, Election, Persecuted church27 Comments

My Meeting With Donald Trump—14 Things You Should Know

I was privileged to be invited to a special/private meeting with Donald Trump.

No speech.

No generalities.

A heart-to-heart conversation. In fact, the title of the meeting was:  A Conversation About the Future of America with Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

It was organized by Bill Dallas of United in Purpose in less than a month. At first, Shelly and I were among several hundred evangelical leaders invited to discuss key issues.

Then the number of leading evangelical pastors, authors, college presidents, radio personalities, and organizational leaders grew to 300, 500, then 750 people. Finally, about a thousand flew to New York.

How did the crowd feel about Trump before the meeting? My estimation at the start of the event. 1/3 were negative or distraught about Trump. 1/3 were neutral or skeptical. And 1/3 were positive and enthusiastic.

The meeting had intense security with background checks and several levels of verification before we were allowed to enter—with special wristbands.

All invited guests submitted two questions prior to the meeting. The most popular questions we asked Trump focused on religious liberty.

Ben Carson co-sponsored the event. He spoke, as did Jerry Falwell Jr. Mike Huckabee moderated. All three are Trump supporters. Awkward for a neutral conversation.

We didn’t intend to grill Trump on theology. We wanted a conversation … and clarification … on issues.

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore

 

Here are the 14 things you should know about the meeting:

  1. Spiritual Focus

The session opened up with prayer from Franklin Graham and a powerful closing prayer from James Robison. Worship music and a call to repentance at the end had attendees on their knees crying out to God.

  1. Christian Perspective

As a Christian, I see both the Republican and the Democratic Parties as broken. I see both candidates as flawed.

One question we all faced in the meeting: which candidate would do less harm to our religious freedom and other constitutional rights? Protect life? Help the economy? Protect us from terrorists? Stand by Israel?

  1. The #1 Reasons Evangelical Leaders Are Moving Toward Trump: The Supreme Court

The 2016 Election is not just about a president. It’s about the make-up of the Supreme Court for the next generation.

The current court has been transforming our culture and economy to the left, and for the worse.

Right now, the Court is not interpreting the law, but is turning into a rubber stamp for a liberal ideology.

The current 4-4 split on the court has left a number of key decisions decided—for the short term. They can be revisited once the next President appoints new members. The next president could appoint as many as 2 to 4 new Justices during his tenure.

  1. Huge New Proposal

Trump shocked me and others when he said he would do away with the Johnson Amendment.

What is that? Why does it matter?

Then U.S. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson in the early 1950’s pushed through an amendment to the tax code. It took away the tax exemption status of any church or ministry if they endorsed a candidate.

Churches and ministries were told for the first time in American History they could not speak out on political issues or candidates—or they would lose their tax-exemption status.

The church has always been the voice of conscience for the community.

But not after 1954. Because of the Johnson Amendment, they could not only lose their tax exemptions, but be subject to investigation, threats, and harassment.

Trump is the first Presidential candidate to take the bold step to say he would repeal it and restore the church and the pastor’s First Amendment freedoms.

This announcement was a huge plus that turned many Evangelical leaders into Trump supporters, or at least closer to supporting him.

  1. Only God Knows Trump and Hillary’s Heart

Trump is not an Evangelical. He does not have a Christian worldview. He does not fellowship with other believers.

James Dobson, President of “Focus on the Family” attended the Conversation with Trump. He passionately spoke for voting for Trump. He later grabbed headlines when he claimed that Trump had been born again.

He had to backtrack on that.

Controversial televangelist Paula White has known Trump for years. She said she had led Trump to Christ. True? Not True? Only God and Trump know.

As for Hillary Clinton …

She grew up as a Methodist. But she believes a weird mixture of socialism with the Social Gospel. She is also pro-abortion, pro homosexual marriage, against religious liberty, and distorts Scripture to fit her worldview.

Only God knows Hillary’s heart, but her views are clearly contrary to the Bible.

  1. Worldview

Clinton’s past record and positions put her in opposition to a Christian worldview.

Trump’s positions largely put him in alignment with a Christian worldview.

  1. Ethics and Integrity

Neither Trump nor Clinton can be trusted. I’m just being honest.

  1. Assurances on Life

Hillary Clinton has a track record of being pro-abortion: no restrictions and increased funding for Planned Parenthood. She will have a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees that they must support on demand at any time, even on the taxpayer’s dime.

Trump has stood firm for pro-life values, with no specifics except for one: a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees that they must be pro-life.

  1. Critical Question: Religious Liberty

Two key members of the conversation asked key questions on religious liberty: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Kelly Schackelford of First Liberty.

The two questions focused on religious rights which conflict with the Supreme Court and political ideology of the LGBTQ agenda to force acceptance and deny Christian liberty.

For example, a business owner’s right to refuse to provide service for an activity in conflict with their religious beliefs—like a videographer forced to record a video for a homosexual wedding.

Trump agreed that people of faith have lost religious rights, and he will fight to change that.

Sadly, Trump dodged on this issue and offered vague responses … except for one point he wanted to stress: he will appoint judges who will protect religious liberty.

He moved few Evangelical leaders because of his vagueness, but pleased the group with his emphasis on conservative judges.

  1. Critical Question: Israel

Clinton has advocated compromise to Israel’s security and has placed the murderous Palestinian Authority on equal moral grounds with the Jewish State.

During the campaign, Trump shared some troublesome, vague positions on Israel and his ability to negotiate a deal. Negotiate what? Every time Israel offers peace with more land, the Palestinians shoot more missiles, build tunnels of death, teach Arab kids hatred of Jews, and target civilians in brutal terrorist acts.

At our conversation, Trump gave what sounded like full support for Israel and attacked the Iran deal: “Obama has forsaken Israel.”

Smiles and applause broke out in the group … Trump moved the audience closer to him.

  1. Nothing in This Race is as Important as the Supreme Court (and Lower Court) Appointments

Clinton promises to appoint only radical, left-wing judicial activists. Trump promises only conservative, strict constructionists.

Brad Dracus of the Pacific Justice Institute recommended Trump announce his cabinet and his potential VP candidate.

Most evangelical leaders are very concerned about his VP pick.

Senator Joni Ernst and Governor Mike Pence would make Evangelicals happy and coalesce

support.

Chris Christie would keep evangelicals away.

There were mixed feelings about Newt Gingrich and Jeff Sessions.

Fill out our poll on who you think should be Trump’s nominee. Click here.

  1. Third Party

Some in attendance wanted to protest the Trump v. Clinton choice with a third-party vote. But no third party candidate would win. Only the Libertarian Party (and perhaps the Green Party) are viable.

In the past, Libertarian candidates have been pro-life (Harry Brown, Ron Paul) and stood up for religious liberty. Not the current candidates. Governor Gary Johnson is pro-abortion, and wants to use the power of the government to force bakers, florists, and churches to service homosexual weddings, activities which violate their conscience and religious beliefs.

You and I could write in our names as the perfect candidate. But any vote for a center-right third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

  1. Key Disappointments

Most of those attending wished there had been shorter talks by Ben Carson, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Mike Huckabee and more questions and answers with Donald Trump.

Most of us wished that Donald Trump had been more specific about his answers.

Most of us did not get to ask questions. Pastor Greg Laurie was the last one of many waiting in line to ask Donald Trump a question. More time was needed to cover questions like Planned Parenthood funding.

  1. Franklin Graham won’t officially endorse Trump, but it’s clear whom he supports.

“You’re just going to have to ask yourself which of the two [presumptive nominees] do you think we as Christians will at least have a voice with?”

Graham has made it abundantly clear that he has no faith in either party or their Presidential candidates.

“You have to make that choice. Now, you might have to hold your nose,” he added.

Trump won the primary, in part because Evangelicals were divided among 7 born-again Christians.

And Trump brought in 20-30% of Evangelicals to the primary.

Here are some facts about his supporters:

  • 35% attend church regularly
  • 55% seldom do, but consider themselves “born again”

Everyone in the room agreed that the next four to eight years could mean the end of freedom in America.

There was a growing agreement among us: with Trump, he might listen to us … and our nation has a chance.

With Clinton, we have no chance.

After the Meeting

Trump needs to win 80% of the Evangelical vote. 10-15% of evangelicals are usually progressive or liberal. Right now, Trump has 62% of Evangelical support. There is a 20% drop in support for Trump compared to Romney, Bush, and McCain.

Will evangelicals get on board—even if reluctantly? I’d say from the meeting, most will.

More leaders were willing to accept Trump over Clinton.

Tony Perkins said that the alternative gave them no other choice.

What would Clinton bring?

A radical, liberal court destroying America. More abortions. Loss of tax-exemption status for churches and missions. Loss of religious liberty to preach the Gospel and follow our conscience. And no chance of repealing the Johnson Amendment.

Final Thoughts

Whatever anyone may think of the outcome, the voters spoke, and Trump won the Republican Party nomination.

Many Evangelicals were deeply disturbed and distraught by the idea of supporting Trump.

But the leaders’ conversation with Trump concluded that even the most skeptical can change their minds—based on the alternative.

A Florida pastor sitting next to me seemed to sum it up for most of us. I asked the skeptical/depressed pastor what he thought at the end.

“My skepticism didn’t change much … except when Pastor James Robison prayed at the end for repentance … that moved me closer to supporting Trump.”

Tell me what you think. Email me at craig@electionforum.org.

27 Comments on “My Meeting With Donald Trump—14 Things You Should Know”

  1. Thank you for your candid report on the Trump meeting. I will vote for Trump, because he is the lesser of two evils. Prayer has been my first step in all elections–God is in control!!!
    Blessings,
    Antonia Stanley
    760-376-3972
    PS. As a Roman Catholic Christian, who attends church every week, and attends retreats quite regularly–Prayer and The Magisterium of The Catholic Church are my guideposts for a formed Catholic Christian conscience when it comes to voting for moral political leaders.

  2. Thank you for attending the meeting and reporting back to us, I had only heard vague references to it in the media, as usual. We are practicing Lutherans, and attend church almost every Sunday, we have been Donald Trump supporters from the first minute he announced. We feel that he is our only hope for the next 4-8 years, with the court, and with the regulations, and with our military, and with the divisions in this country that must be closed. We do trust him to fulfill his promises as best as he is allowed.

  3. I appreciate what you shared even though I decided to vote for Trump after Hillary was exhonorated from all wrong doing. The Clinton’s have to be stopped in their corruption! Thanks again for sharing, Virginia (Ginee)

  4. No matter who we get for President, we’ll have total economic collapse, riots, starvation, destruction, etc. Our “WakeUp!” call was back in 2008 & since then, all that’s been done are to put band-aides on all our problems. Prop everything up with fake money, diluting our currency. Who can comprehend why Satan & his Demons run about the planet corrupting & destroying every good thing in their paths. Absolutely No One would suffer lack, if people would treat each other as they, themselves would like to be treated. The governments around the world have looted their own people, who made them successful. The love of more & more wealth, trampling anyone down in your way, is truly satanic, demonic, evil & it is running rampant everywhere, every day, concealed & carried by even the least suspected.

  5. Thank you very much for your candid review, Mr. Huey. It gives us born again Christians some good insight. I’m not a fan of Mr. Trump, but much moreso regarding Mrs. Clinton. The holding of the nose analogy was very fitting, as they both stink. It is hugely unfortunate what it has come down to with regard to our choices. But one stinks a lot less. The concerning thing about Mr. Trump is his vagueness and use of adjectives 90% of the time he speaks. What are we really getting with Mr. Trump? Although far from conclusive, you opened a small widow of what his stance is on the issues that are most important to us. Our postmodern culture is quickly moving toward disaster with humanism as its god. But considering all of this, no matter who is President, no matter what comes of America, Jesus is King!!! Sovereign Lord have mercy on America and grant us repentance!!!

    1. Reading through your article, as with all articles from you, I have mixed feelings. I find your analysis to always come across with an attitude of superiority and I’m not sure why. I feel your comments regarding Mr. Trump are always tainted with a holier than Thou reflection of yourself in comparison to him. I’ve said this before & will continue to say this: too much emphasis is placed on judging Donald Trump when it was never a conversation, front page article, plethora of continuous dialog from so-called Christian leaders, as compared to Romney, McCain and even Bush! We really are sick to death of these “so-called leaders” superior attitudes. This quote is from your article: “There is a 20% drop in support (from evangelicals)for Trump compared to Romney, Bush, and McCain.” ARE YOU KIDDING – that speaks VOLUMES and no one seems to be catching on!! Less support for Trump yet Romney a Mormon who’s roots of religion come from Satan…WHAT is wrong with Christians?!! These comments are coming from an individual who practices modesty, walks with Christ, does not drink, does not swear, does not watch anything that wouldn’t be acceptable with God in the room, doesn’t cheat, have never smoked, never been drunk is in their 60’s…and yet…and yet…as hard as I work for people to actually see Christ in me, I DON’T MAKE SUCH RIDICULOUS CRITICAL STATEMENTS ABOUT MR. TRUMP. People are phony and everyone who keeps trying to “prove” their so much better or more righteous then he is need to get off the pedestal and start PRAYING for his heart to be softened, for God to love him so much that He will pick him up and hold him high and work with him to help get this Nation out of the hands of Satan!

  6. Still waiting to see what happens next week and praying that we can lead a quiet and peaceable life…
    Anne Kucklick

  7. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why conservatives/Republicans/Evangelicals/etc. are having such a quandary over whom to vote for. I wanted Ted Cruz — a true constitutionalist — but he couldn’t “sell” his message to the people. No one can know for certain what we’ll get with a Trump presidency, but as everyone has acknowledged, we are finished if Hillary gets elected. She is morally corrupt, in my opinion. I honestly do not believe Trump is morally corrupt. My biggest concern right now is that so many keep saying that he has to become “more Presidential” and pick an “insider” like Gingrich as V.P. because Trump doesn’t know his way around Washington and how the “game is played.” What? The reason he’s the candidate is precisely because WE DON’T WANT SOMEONE WHO PLAYS THE GAME. At least, I don’t.

  8. I am a Conservative Anglican Bishop who ALSO has had a Damascus Road (Born-Again) experience. I trust Donald Trump’s ability to tell the truth and keep his Conservative bearing. We must all pray that God’s will be accomplished through a Trump presidency, for if we allow Hitlary to be elected, many of the more Conservative state, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, Vermont and others will secede which will lead to a blood-letting not seen since the 1860’s.

  9. We’ve been Trump supporters ever since Cruz betrayed us on TPP by standing the Paul Ryan on the Senate floor and selling TPA to the Senate. We could never support Hillary’s liberal view on abortion, gay marriage, etc., but after reading Roger Stone’s book, The Clintons’ War on Women (we highly recommend everyone read it), we know that she would destroy America is elected. The list of evils she and Bill have committed, from selling tainted blood from prisoners in Arkansas, to assisting then CIA Director Bush with drug running from Mena, Arkansas, to selling military secrets in exchange for money from foreign countries like China and Saudi Arabia through their Clinton Foundation, makes her email scandal seem like child’s play!

  10. Craig, you are so right-on with all that you share! We forward your newsletter to everyone we know. We are definitely voting for Trump because we know we’ll get a crooked liar with Hillary (& Bill) who will destroy our Nation, for sure. With Trump, we should be able to hold him to things he’s promised, but we put our trust in no man. Personally, we pray daily that Trump becomes a new creation in Christ and grows quickly in his walk with the LORD. We realize that it’s so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven, but with God all things are possible. You should go to youtube and watch the fascinating message an Australian pastor gives directly to Trump. “The Donald Trump Prophecy End Time Presidential Election 2016” (32 minutes) which gave us some added hope. We agree with Pastor Robert Jeffress that America is going to be judged eventually, but we want to work before the night comes, to delay that judgment and see many saved. God bless & protect you and Shelly, as you work so hard to keep us informed with the truth. Marsha T

  11. I am voting for Donald Trump because it is our last chance for freedom. If Hillary gets elected and appoints one or more Supreme Court justices, then I see wholesale persecution of Christians in our future.

  12. As Christians, we have one another, we are our members one to another. Stand firmly, and assuredly that our Armour is not of this world, and that we answer to the Highest Court. As I see it, we have but one option, a vote for Trump with prayer, repentance, and seeking God’s face, first. Then perhaps He will bring the constutionalist appointment to whom also will revere the Almighty? I for one stand united with those who are in prayer over this election, the Commander In Cheif, his running mate, the new cabinet, the Supreme Court Appointee, etc…America bless God.

  13. I still can’t believe that many of the “Christians” that I trusted have caved in to a lying big blowhard with no experience to govern and speaks untruths (lies) with such ease.

  14. NO CHOICE!!!!!!! TRUMP ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!
    It will never be perfect until our Lord comes!!!!!
    Appreciate what we have in Trump and pray for him!!!!!!!!!!!

    God uses many strange things and people…… like Paul for an example.

    Sometimes Christians think they know more than God. WE DON’T!!!!!!
    Appreciate the fact that God has given us TRUMP over CLINTON…. we have a choice to make and it is real simple. Go Trump!!!!!!! AND PRAY FOR HIM. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE
    CHRISTIANS ….. AGAIN IT WON’T BE PERFECT UNTIL OUR FATHER COMES.

  15. Thank you, Mr. Huey, for the personal, inside-the-room view. I fear neither Mr. Trump nor Secretary Clinton eat Christian ethics for breakfast. I wish Mr. Trump would’ve shared which Biblical principles drive his personal behavior and offered some specifics on a few of his private thoughts in his walk of faith. God’s name and His word aren’t meant for a bumper sticker in an election year. Heck, even the Clintons were seen attending church services and between them, they practice all of the 7 cardinal sins: pride, anger, glutton, sloth, lust, envy and greed.

  16. DearMarie, I believe you are judging Mr. Huey’s motivations behind what he says. The Bible teaches to judge people based on their fruit, “by their fruit you shall know them”, and what Donald Trump has said and done is all we have on which to base our decision. His worldview matters, and, in the case if past candidates, that, too, is what Evangelicals used as their guide. We can’t read hearts, but we can be discerning of speech and actions. Of course, Hillary Clinton fails on both accounts.

  17. Thank you Mr. Huey for this update. It would have been terrific if the assembled group had been “struck by lightning” and was able to impart divine wisdom to us! Nevertheless, thank you for sharing your observations. As you state, and as this gathering demonstrates, Christians can at least hope (and pray) that we will have a ‘chair at the table’ when Mr. Trump is elected with no such hope should Hillary Clinton be elected. I certainly agree with most that it is painful to contemplate the burden of supporting and voting for “the lesser of two evils.” Heck, I have a hard time mouthing the word ‘Trump’ until the visage of Clinton creeps into my mind. Yet, we must all agree that the symptoms of an increasingly secular society, a rapidly deteriorating hedonist culture and the increasing losses of freedom have been gathering power over the last 40+ years. But what have we done over time to stop, or at least slow, this impending doom? Why do we so strongly believe that we know the answers and believe that, in time so also will others? In the silence of prayer we might wish to consider what God is telling us. Maybe our certainty of the “right life” has led to a lackadaisical attitude about our faith. Maybe our concern about what others may think of us has increasingly obscured our own beliefs. As we seek protection (even solace) in our comfortable lives, it seems that we may have forgotten that the biblical parables that we read, share and contemplate are more than stories, these events actually happened to other human beings. How can we acknowledge the enormous humiliation, pain, suffering and ultimately death that Jesus Christ suffered on our behalf and yet wring our hands (and stomp our feet) because ‘it is too painful’ to contemplate that Donald Trump is not the perfect definition of what we think we deserve. Maybe God is telling us that Trump is what we deserve! As our Pastor stated at Mass this morning, our actions – not our words – will determine the future of this great country. As is true in most of our families, many have sacrificed a bit – or a great deal. As I learned nearly 50 years ago as a member of the United States Marine Corps in southeast Asia, if I am not willing to fight for my beliefs, then who will? I know I have NOT done enough as I rationalized that my focus on my marriage, our children, my work, etc. was sufficient while others were working hard to undermine and destroy the Judeo-Christian ethic and moral compass that we have all relied upon. Maybe God is telling us through our concern and pain – and probable future chaos – that until we truly act within our faith, we are doomed. Sorry to get so ‘preachy’ but like many, I am confused and am seeking the light. God bless all of you.

  18. Do not forget that Trump grew up attending services at Norman Vincent Peale’s church. Trump heard Dr. Peale speak many times. What we may find bombastic might simply be Trump putting Dr. Peale’s teachings about positive thought into action.

  19. I don’t know the answer but I can not stand by and allow Hillary to be elected!! I will vote for Trump!! I would like to see Ben Carson on the ticket with him!! He is the one that I supported for President!! But if he can’t be then Newt would be OK!!

  20. I have warmed up to him much more lately. I just hope & pray that if he becomes pres., he makes every attempt to do what he says he will. Supreme ct is most important. We must keep the senate.

  21. Good article Craig. Thanks for doing it. We have to remember that Donald Trump is running for a “political” office. Most, but not all, politicians LIE. I also don’t trust Trump 100%, but, as I’ve said many times, we’re voting AGAINST Hillary rather than FOR Trump in this election. I’ve watched many videos of both candidates and read articles about their pasts. Trump is not the “best” Presidential candidate, but he’s whats left, so we need to support him. It seems that most of the people who voted for Trump over the other 16 candidates did so because he was NOT a politician, and he was forceful in his comments. Ben Carson was great but not forceful and didn’t show leadership qualities. If (God forbid) Clinton is elected, we can kiss this democratic republic GOODBYE. Obama put us “in the toilet” but Hillary will “flush the toilet”. We, the true Christian disciples, NEED to pray for this country and to pray for God’s will to be done. Please Lord, have mercy on this sinful nation!

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