Tuesday's meeting between Donald Trump and nearly 1,000 Christian leaders was a "very positive meeting," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Wednesday, but he's not sure that evangelicals are "quite there" yet when it comes to supporting his candidacy.
"When we first started talking about this, we thought maybe we would have 400, maybe 500 people, and over a thousand people, and I'm talking about leaders, evangelical, social conservative leaders came across the country, which tells me there is great concern over where our nation is today," Perkins told Fox News' Martha MacCallum on the "America's Newsroom"
And, he continued that after seven and a half years of the "pounding" that Christian values have undergone with the Obama administration, 'there is clearly an understanding that America needs a strong, bold leader, and I think people want to be for Donald Trump. They're not quite there and so they came to hear him and I think overall it was a positive meeting."
Perkins had endorsed former GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, and still indicated that he was not quite ready to switch his allegiance to Trump. But still, he said that the New York real estate mogul resonated with evangelical leaders.
"He said, 'look, I will defend your freedom to believe and live according to your beliefs,'" said Perkins. "That resonated with those there. Secondly, which I think gives him credibility on this, is that he has been attacked for not toeing the line on political correctness. When you're talking to the evangelical community that in the popular culture today is out of sync with these new values and they're being hammered ... evangelicals, we're not going to bow to the culture either. We live our lives according to the transcendent truth of scripture."
Trump will have to do better with evangelicals than 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney did, said Perkins, and he thinks he can get there, "but he is not there yet. Polling makes that very clear but I think yesterday was a very significant step in beginning a conversation with many."
Perkins said he hopes Trump will surround himself with socially conservative leaders who can advise him on specific policies, as he doesn't talk much about them and doesn't have a track record on public policy.
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