President Donald Trump warned Evangelical leaders of potential violence from Antifa and the overturn of his administration’s accomplishments if Democrats win the midterms.
Trump reportedly made the remarks at a Monday dinner at the White House with Christian leaders who he hosted to honor faith leaders, reassure them of his administration’s commitment to protecting religious liberty, and urge them to vote in the midterms. Trump warned that if Democrats win the midterms in November, they “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently.” (RELATED: Trump Slams CNN For Botched Michael Cohen Story)
“They will end everything immediately. When you look at Antifa, and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people,” he added, according to The New York Times, which obtained leaked audio of some of Trump’s remarks.
Trump stressed the importance of Christian faith leaders encouraging their congregations and followers to vote in the upcoming midterm elections in order to preserve the progress his administration has made, especially with regard to reducing government violations of religious freedoms.
“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote. Because if they don’t — it’s Nov. 6 — if they don’t vote we’re going to have a miserable two years, and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time because then it just gets to be one election — you’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got,” Trump said.
Trump clarified his comments to reporters on Wednesday, saying “I just hope there won’t be violence,” according to The Associated Press.
“If you look at what happens … there’s a lot of unnecessary violence all over the world, but also in this country. And I don’t want to see it,” he said.
Christian leaders who attended the dinner later clarified that they did not interpret Trump’s remarks to be a “dire warning” of chaos and rioting in the streets.
“It wasn’t any kind of dire warning … except the things that we’ve been working on as a body of voters will be reversed and overturned,” said Ohio Pastor Darrell Scott. He said he did not agree with the media’s interpretation of Trump’s comments.
Scott further clarified that, in his view, Trump said “there are some violent people … but it wasn’t that we’ve got to worry about murder on the streets and chaos and anarchy … just that the things we’ve worked for will be overturned.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council gave a similar interpretation to CNN when asked about Trump’s comments.
“He talked about the freedom of religion in our nation’s military, those things that are important to the evangelicals. And he said, ‘look, this is not a time to be complacent.’ I think that was the message that was received by those in the room that, look, don’t think that this is just going to continue. If there is a turnover in the House or the elections, they all have consequences. We know that, this stuff could end,” Perkins said.
“And it could be overturned very quickly. Don’t think it’s just going to trickle out because we see the energy on the other side. Now, he did make a reference to Antifa, which has in many ways become the face of the left. Now I don’t — I don’t think anybody in the room suggested that there was going to be violence across the nation” he added.
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