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Trump endorses Ten Commandments in schools, implores evangelical Christians to vote in November

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump told a group of evangelicals they “cannot afford to sit on the sidelines” of the 2024 election, at one point urging them to “go vote, Christians, please!”
Trump also endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools and elsewhere when he spoke to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians in Washington on Saturday. He drew applause when he invoked a new law signed into law this week in Louisiana that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom.
“Has anyone read ‘Thou shalt not steal’?” I mean, does anyone read this incredible stuff? It’s unbelievable,” Trump said at a meeting of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “They don’t want it to go up.” It’s a crazy world.”
A day earlier, Trump took to his social network in support of the new law, saying: “I LIKE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND MANY OTHER PLACES ON THIS MATTER. READ IT — HOW WRONG CAN WE BE AS A NATION???”
The former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee backed the move as he seeks to galvanize his religious right supporters, who rabidly backed him after he was initially suspicious of the twice-divorced New York tabloid celebrity when he first ran for president in 2016.
That support continued despite his conviction in the first of four criminal cases he faces, in which a jury last month found him guilty of falsifying business records in what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a secret payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. before the 2016 election. Daniels claims she had sex with Trump a decade ago, which he denies.
Trump’s stated opposition to signing a nationwide abortion ban and his reluctance to detail some of his views on the issue have put many members of the evangelical movement at odds, a key part of Trump’s base that is expected to help him win over voters in November. a rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden.
But while many members of the movement would like him to do more to restrict abortion, they are cheering him on as the cause’s biggest champion because of his role in appointing US Supreme Court justices who will strike down national abortion rights in 2022.
Trump emphasized Saturday, “We did something that was amazing,” but the issue will be decided by the people of the states.
“Every voter has to go with their heart and do what’s right, but we also have to be elected,” he said.
Although he still takes credit for overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump also warned that abortion could be politically difficult for Republicans. For months, he deflected questions about his position on the national ban.
Addressing the Faith & Freedom Coalition last year, Trump said the federal government has a “vital role to play in protecting unborn life,” but offered no further details.
In April of this year, Trump said he believed the issue should now be left up to the states. Later in the interview, he said he would not sign a nationwide abortion ban if Congress passed it. He still refused to detail his stance on women’s access to the abortion pill mifepristone.
About two-thirds of Americans say abortion should generally be legal, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll last year.
Attendees at Saturday’s evangelical rally said that while they would like to see a national ban on abortion, Trump is not losing any of their deep support.
“I would rather he sign a national ban,” said Jerri Dickinson, a 78-year-old retired social worker and member of Faith & Freedom in New Jersey. “However, I understand that, in accordance with the Constitution, this decision should be left to the states.”
Dickinson said she can’t stand an abortion law in her state that doesn’t set limits on the procedure based on gestational age. But she said that aside from favoring a national ban, leaving the issue to the state is “the best alternative.”
According to the AP VoteCast, a large-scale poll of voters, about 8 in 10 white evangelical Christian voters supported Trump in 2020, and nearly 4 in 10 Trump voters identified as white evangelical Christians. White evangelical Christians made up about 20 percent of the total electorate that year.
In addition to offering its own support in the general election, the Faith & Freedom Coalition plans to help get out the vote for Trump and other Republicans, using volunteers and paid workers to knock on millions of doors in embattled states.
Trump also rallied voters in Philadelphia on Saturday with a speech heavily focused on violent crime, telling supporters at the arena that he would grant police officers immunity from prosecution.
“Under Crooked Joe, the City of Brotherly Love is plagued by bloodshed and crime,” he said. “We will send federal law enforcement resources to the places that need them most.”
Statistics from the Philadelphia City Comptroller say there were 410 homicides in 2023, a 20 percent decrease from 2022.
Tyler Cecconi, 25, of Richmond, Virginia, said he’s glad Trump is stepping out of his comfort zone and going to places that might not be red. A digital banner reading “Philadelphia is Trump Country” was displayed at the venue.
“He’s showing people that whether you vote for him or not, or whether it’s a blue county or a red county, he doesn’t care,” Cecconi said. “The president is for everybody in this country.”
Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Dave McCormick attended the rally and appeared on stage to speak to voters about the economy and immigration.
“This economy is not working for the majority of Pennsylvanians and it is not working for the majority of Americans,” McCormick said.
At both events, Trump returned several times to the topic of the US-Mexico border, and when he described the migrants crossing the border as “challenging”, he said he told his friend Dan White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, to invite them to the new version of the sport.
“Why don’t you start a migrant league and not have your regular warrior league. And then you have the champion of your league, these are the greatest fighters in the world fighting the champion of migrants,” Trump described White. “I think the migrant could win, that’s why they are so tough. He didn’t like the idea too much.”
Biden’s campaign responded to Trump’s remarks by saying it was “appropriate” that Trump, who has a felony conviction, spent time at a religious conference making threats about immigration and “bragging about robbing Americans of their freedoms.”
“Trump’s incoherent, rambling tirade showed voters in his own words that he is a threat to our freedoms and too dangerous to be allowed anywhere near the White House again,” campaign spokeswoman Sarafina Chitika said in a statement.

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