President Donald Trump will be given a second chance by his evangelical Christian supporters, according to the leader of a high-profile evangelical activist group, after allegations arose that he had cheated on his wife with porn star Stormy Daniels back in 2006.
Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative lobbying organization Family Research Council, said on Politico’s Off Message podcast on Tuesday that Trump had been given “a mulligan” by evangelicals—a term used in golf to describe an extra swing allowed after a poor shot that would not count against a player on the scoreboard.
“Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over,” Perkins repeated in an interview with CNN later the same day. “They said, ‘we’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.’”
The comments come nearly two weeks after the Wall Street Journal published allegations that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen had paid the adult film star $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged decade-old affair in October just weeks before the election, as well as other, more salacious details leaked.
Perkins stated that Trump, despite the president’s alleged moral failure, had the support of religious right because of his pro-life stance and “constitutionally conservative” politics.
The organization which Perkins runs, the Family Research Council, prides itself on promoting traditional conservative family and social values. The organization’s website explains how it “champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society.”
The president’s alleged conduct appears to contradict these values entirely. However, Trump remains the answer to conservative evangelical prayers—for now, at least.
In his conversation with Politico, Perkins went to explain that evangelicals “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists. And I think they are finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”
Still, speaking to CNN’s Erin Burnett, the lobbyist warned that the forgiving grace of religious conservatives was not in infinite supply.
“That support is not unconditional,” he said. “If the president for some reason stopped keeping campaign promises and then engaged in that behavior now, the support’s gone.”