A great deal of attention this week has surrounded Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s June 21 meeting with more than 900 evangelical leaders, with speculation reverberating throughout media and the political sphere.
Much is being said about the businessman’s concerted efforts to reach the sizable evangelical Christian cohort — a group that is known to have a profound impact on Republican candidates’ electoral prospects.
As for the event’s impact, author and evangelical leader Johnnie Moore, who was present at the massive gathering, told Deseret News National on Friday that there was a common theme that seemed to deeply resonate with the audience: Trump’s stated commitment to religious liberty.
Moore, who also attended a small meeting between Trump and 20-25 high-profile evangelical leaders that preceded the larger event, said that the subject was repeatedly discussed throughout both gatherings.
“I think in both circumstances … what was most clear and most encouraging … was his sort of unwavering committment to issues related to religious liberty,” Moore explained, saying that Trump repeatedly pledged to fight for Christians who believe that their civil liberties are being constrained.
Moore, who is among those serving on Trump’s evangelical executive board alongside former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed and many others, said that the board’s purpose is to offer advice to the campaign and to help build a “consistent dialogue between Mr. Trump and the evangelical community.”
While the broader meeting with evangelical leaders attracted the most media attention, Moore said that Trump’s tone in the smaller gathering truly struck him — and it’s a detail that might surprise many of those who are more than familiar with the candidate’s oft-times boisterous nature.
“What really, really struck me in the earlier meeting was how interested he was in listening, in feedback and criticism,” Moore said. “There was a certain humility he exhibited in his interaction with these leaders.”