A group of influential conservatives have yet to fully accept Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, CNN reports.
The Council for National Policy, founded by Christian minister Tim LaHaye in 1981, is a group of religious and fiscal conservatives who represent subsets of their own conservative organizations. They usually have no issues rallying behind the GOP presidential nominee, but this election cycle is different.
Prominent members Brent Bozell, Ken Blackwell and Tony Perkins were surrogates for former presidential candidate Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]. Longtime CNP member Phyllis Schlafly is a vocal Trump supporter.
“Many conservatives want to be able to be for Donald Trump because they fear the alternative, but they have not yet seen in him what they need to see to make the transition,” Perkins told CNN. “There is not a lot that has transpired since Ted Cruz left the race and Donald Trump has been on the path to being the nominee — he has not done anything that would make people change their minds.”
Blackwell says he is “slow” to support Trump, telling CNN, “I would say everybody wants to unify and everybody is mindful of the fact and respectful of the fact that Trump has weathered the storm of a primary.”
Blackwell explained, “But the vast majority of us are not ready to jettison our platform or the philosophy that has gotten us to this majority party status, the only other rung is the presidency.”
Schlafly, however, is more confident about Trump’s conservative credentials.
“I can remember 1980 when a lot of us didn’t think Reagan was an authentic conservative. Reagan turned out to be best president of the century,” she said. She said that she supports Trump because of his stance on stopping illegal immigration, the “most important” issue in the country.
Father Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest who heads up the group Priests for Life, believes that Trump is indeed sufficiently pro-life, despite his past pro-abortion position.
“From my own communication with people who have known, and worked with and advised Mr. Trump, I have got nothing but reassurance,” Pavone said. “I really think that that principle that the office shapes the man is going to kick in very strongly.”