AFA’s Tim Wildmon Meets with Trump; Says SCOTUS Appointees Most Important Issue of Next Presidency
TUPELO, Miss.—American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) President Tim Wildmon was among a group of prominent Christian leaders that met with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump yesterday, and the AFA leader says Trump’s plan for appointing judges may be one of the most important issues of the campaign.
“Donald Trump answered tough questions about religious freedom, Israel, potential Supreme Court nominees and abortion,” Wildmon said. “His strongest answers were about the type of judges he would appoint. I believe he fully understands the importance of this issue, as he reported that, if he was elected, all judges would be vetted by the Federalist Society—a stalwart conservative organization.
“To me, this may be the most important issue of this campaign from the perspective of AFA and our supporters,” he added. “After all, the next president will likely appoint two or more Supreme Court justices in the next four years. As we have seen over the past few years, it doesn’t matter how many good laws are passed if the courts strike them down.”
One of Trump’s weaknesses, Wildmon reported, was that he did not clearly state his views when answering questions about when religious freedom and the LGBT movement come into conflict, other than to say that these matters will be decided by the courts. He repeatedly said he was for religious freedom, and his fallback position was that he would appoint judges who would defend religious freedom.
“Mr. Trump also said he was tired of the political correctness surrounding matters of our Christian heritage and used Christmas an example,” Wildmon said. “He said companies want to profit from Christmas but don’t want to use the word ‘Christmas.’ He reported that he uses the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ and thinks the PC crowd wants to change the sentiment to a generic greeting in yet another attempt to diminish the role of Christianity in America. This made me wonder if he’s been reading the AFA Journal!”
Trump also answered that he would be a strong supporter of the nation of Israel and never understood Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats who don’t support Israel.
“Trump also understands the threat to our country by Islamic jihadism,” Wildmon said. “He has taken a lot of heat from the liberal media for criticizing the problems within Islam. On a personal note, I met several people who have known Donald Trump personally for years and said he is not the brash, arrogant, sometimes rude person he appears to be on television. I will say, without media cameras in his face, he was pleasant, relaxed, funny and thoughtful.
“It was admirable and honorable for Donald Trump to meet with Christian leaders. He is not our enemy. I believe he has instincts that are reverent and patriotic. At 69 years old, he remembers an America that was once a great country but has lost her way. But he also comes from a very secular world, and that way of thinking is a part of who he is. In some ways, he strikes me as an enigma—a man still searching for spiritual answers in his life. But, regardless, he is listening to some great men of God who I have much respect for—and that’s a good thing.”
“Who but the Lord knows what lies ahead for Donald Trump?” Wildmon concluded. “He wasn’t my first choice for President, but the majority of GOP voters chose him. Now, either he or Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States of America. So if one of them shows genuine interest in understanding Christians better and says he will be our friend, I believe we should tell him what we think and where we stand. To use a sports term, he’s coachable.
“All of us should pray for Mr. Trump and our country.”
Wildmon added that evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. David Jeremiah, Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Kelly Shackelford and Sammy Rodriguez, among others, were part of the event yesterday in New York City.