The head of Arkansas’ largest Southern Baptist megachurch joined with other faith leaders in meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in New York City on Tuesday.
The Rev. Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and a former Southern Baptist Convention president, was one of a dozen or so religious leaders who sat around a table with Trump.
Floyd also attended a larger event with nearly 1,000 religious activists. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister who vied with Trump for the 2016 nomination, attended both meetings, sitting onstage during the larger gathering and acting as moderator during a question-and-answer session.
During one session, Trump offered prayer suggestions, according to video posted online.
While it’s fine to pray for the nation’s leaders, “what you really have to do is you have to pray to get everybody out to vote for one specific person,” Trump said. “We can’t be, again, politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders because all of your leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes, selling the evangelicals down the tubes. And it’s a very, very bad thing that’s happening.”
In a phone interview, Floyd said the meeting “was an opportunity to voice the concerns of evangelicals in America.”
Others attending the smaller gathering included Dallas-area megachurch pastor and Conway native Jack Graham.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a senior Trump adviser and the former Arkansas governor’s daughter, participated in Tuesday’s events.
The “Trump meeting was very positive and showed his willingness to sit down and answer tough questions from Christian conservatives,” she said via email. “He received multiple standing ovations and a very enthusiastic reception.”
She said the meeting will “help build additional support” in the evangelical community.
Floyd has said repeatedly that he wouldn’t endorse any presidential candidate in 2016. At least one presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, worshipped at Cross Church.
The preacher said he thought it was important to know where the candidates stand on “issues like the sanctity of human life, issues like religious liberty where the concerns are bigger now in our own country [than] ever before.”
Read more at Arkansan among faith leaders to meet Trump.