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Values Voters Split on Trump

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Friday, 10 Jun 2016 08:52 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Attendees at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference were sharply split on whether to back Donald Trump this fall. Given that the Coalition is the nation's largest organization of "values voters," this could spell real trouble for Trump.

I spoke to attendees 24 hours before Trump was scheduled to address the organization’s seventh annual “Road to Victory” conference in Washington D.C.

Among the roughly 1,000 enthusiastic participants from 32 states jamming the Shoreham Hotel, I found several who previously backed other Republican candidates now very willing to sign on with Trump. Most of them cited as their chief reason distaste for a President Hillary Clinton.

“Anybody who is against Hillary Clinton I’m for,” said Richard Denver, who hailed from Pennsylvania and supported Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination.

He added that Trump wasn't his first choice: “In this race, I just liked Cruz the most but Trump is fine."

Another Cruz supporter, Bill Steinsieck, also said he would support Trump: “I was for Ted Cruz in the primaries but I will vote for Trump."

Fred Michaelis, also at the conference, said, “I support Trump. He’s the only one between Hillary and the presidency.”

Asked if there was anything he didn’t like about Trump, Michaelis told me: “Well, there’s this idea that his speech sounds unfiltered. But toning it down a bit may come with experience.”

Others at Faith and Freedom, however, were not so understanding.

When I asked Karen Skiles of Newark, Del., whether she would support Trump in the fall, she flatly replied: “No. He’s not for our country and the best interests of our country are not in the forefront of what he has to say."

Skiles, previously a Cruz supporter,  explained that while Trump “says he believes in God, his actions speak louder than his words, and he never talks about God in speeches or when he speaks about our country’s future.”

As for who she will vote for, Skiles said she was “looking seriously at voting libertarian and supporting [Libertarian Party nominee] Gary Johnson.”

When I pointed out that Johnson takes a pro-choice position on abortion and supports same-sex marriage, she told me, “That does bother me.”

Jason C. O’Neill, director of the Delaware Catholic Conference, also told me he was “evaluating” voting libertarian because “the Libertarian ticket has two governors [former Govs. Johnson of New Mexico and William Weld of Massachusetts] and they have more experience between than Trump and Hillary put together.”

As for the decidedly liberal stands on cultural issues of both Johnson and Weld, O’Neill said he felt it was more important “to have experienced leaders in the post-9/11 world than to focus only on their stands on abortion and marriage. But I’m going to pray over this.”

Another Faith and Freedom participant who is bothered by Trump’s past statements on abortion and Planned Parenthood is Sara Olson, a vice president of Concerned Women for America.

“But I plan on voting for him,” she told me, “I never was a single-issue voter until [Supreme Court] Justice Antonin Scalia died. I know very well how important it is who fills the vacancy he left, and I know what Hillary Clinton would want in a justice. And I know what Trump would want.”

She cited Trump's list of people he would consider for the Supreme Court that included such favorites on the right as U.S. Appellate Judges William Pryor of Alabama and Diane Sykes of Wisconsin.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
 

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Attendees at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference were sharply split on whether to back Donald Trump this fall. Given that the Coalition is the nation's largest organization of "values voters," this could spell real trouble for Trump.
trump, cruz, hillary, clinton
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2016-52-10
Friday, 10 Jun 2016 08:52 AM
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