Evangelical Christians weren't pleased to hear Donald Trump's crude remarks about sexual assault on a video Friday, but several leaders say they will continue to support his candidacy.
"Evangelicals are simply not going to vote for Hillary Clinton," said David Lane, a founder of the American Renewal movement, which is leading Christian voter mobilization efforts on behalf of Trump in a half-dozen states. Evangelical voters have become a pillar of GOP voter support in several battleground states, including Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Missouri and others.
"Donald Trump's comments were stupid and they were awful. But they were from some years ago," Lane said in an interview Saturday. "The question is where is he now. Donald Trump is moving. He was on national television, he apologized, he said he was wrong."
Lane said he conferred Saturday with pastors and national evangelical leaders around the country.
"These guys are behind him, as they were before," he said. "They think the comments were awful but they happened years ago and they are interested in where he is now — and more important where the country is now. They talked about how much is at stake, starting with the Supreme Court."
Separately, Gary Bauer, who now leads the Campaign for Working Families, said he would continue to back the New York businessman.
"The 10-year-old tape of a private conversation in which Donald Trump uses grossly inappropriate language does not change the reality of the choice facing this country," Bauer said in a statement posted to his organization's website. "Hillary Clinton is committed to enacting policies that will erode religious liberty, promote abortion, make our country less safe, and leave our borders unprotected. ... Donald Trump will reverse these failed policies. I continue to support the Trump-Pence Ticket."
Not all Christian conservatives were supportive.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, posted an article detailing evangelical apathy toward the Trump tape, calling it a "disgrace." As first reported by Reuters, Moore called the apathy "a scandal to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the integrity of our witness."