Even after getting into a back-and-forth with the pope days before the election, Donald Trump still pulled off a win in South Carolina’s most Catholic county against several Catholic rivals.
After Trump pulled off a decisive victory in South Carolina’s primary on Saturday night, The Daily Beast pointed out that he also “won Beaufort, the state’s only majority-Catholic county.”
In Beaufort County, Trump won with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 28 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 19 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 1 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 7 percent and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 3 percent.
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On Thursday, Pope Francis criticized Trump’s immigration proposals, telling reporters: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
Trump replied by saying: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President.”
Observers were divided heading into the primary about whether Trump’s tiff with the pope could hurt him in the state, considering how 65 percent of Republican voters in 2012 considered themselves evangelical. Exit polls on Saturday indicated that number is up — with 75 percent of primary-goers on Saturday describing themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.