Charisma Caucus

Trump's VP Choice Could Determine Evangelical Support

Donald Trump
A number of faith leaders have said the level of their support—or lack thereof—for Donald Trump will depend on his running mate selection. (Reuters photo)

In a report published Tuesday, several conservative Christian leaders signaled their efforts to help presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will hinge almost entirely on his choice of running mate.

Politico discussed the likely Trump nomination with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America and Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY LEADER. All of them played important roles in U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.

Each of them said the decision to mobilize their members would be based on Trump's running mate:

"Who's he going to surround himself with? The first indication is going to be vice presidential choice," said Bob Vander Plaats, who served as Ted Cruz's national co-chairman and is revered in Iowa evangelical circles ...

Perkins noted that Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas had already been hit with an ad that sought to tie him to Trump's past inflammatory comments about women.

"That is going to be used to suppress evangelical support and turnout for him," Perkins said. "He has to counter that. The only way he counters that is ...[with a] running mate, how he vets judicial nominees and what does he do with the party platform." ...

"There's a big difference between me saying I don't think we should do a third party, and giving a full-throated endorsement in which I actually work for him and get out the vote for him," Nance said, saying that she's not at all committed yet to doing the latter. "It remains to be seen how involved our ladies will be.

"Door-to-door leaflets, sign waving, that's the thing my ladies do," she continued. "We're the legit activists. We do it for free. Phone banking, hours and hours of phone banking, that's a necessary part of the campaign. You can't buy that."

The faith leaders didn't, however, offer any suggestions about who that nominee should be. For his part, Trump has already indicated he has a short list of five or six potential running mates, which is focused on career politicians. He said he will likely make his decision as the national convention gets underway in mid-July.

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