Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said Sunday that President Donald Trump may not be “a role model for a lot of youth” but he supports him because he’s “tenaciously pro-life.”
“I don’t think that President Trump as a person is a role model for a lot of youth. That’s me personally. I don’t like the way that he tweets, some of the things that he says. His word choices at times are not my word choices. He comes across with more New York City swagger than I do from the Midwest,” Lankford told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
The senator continued, saying that while he may object to the president’s style at times, “there are policy areas where we agree … on the issues of abortion for instance, he’s been tenaciously pro-life. He’s focused on putting people around him that are very focused on religious liberty, not honoring a particular faith, but honoring any person of any faith to go be able to live and practice that faith and have respect for that,” Lankford said. (RELATED: Pastors Laud Trump’s ‘Guts’ To Defend Religious Freedom In UN Speech — Not ‘Imaginary’ Climate Crisis)
Evangelical leaders have echoed Lankford’s sentiments, with Family Resource Council president Tony Perkins saying that Trump has reversed abortion policy in the United States.
The senator appeared on the show with Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons as the pair explained how they can meet “at a weekly prayer breakfast” with other politicians of faith and, as Coons said, be “praying with and for each other, singing hymns, talking about families and sharing some stories.” Coons noted that “we’re not sitting there arguing about gay marriage and abortion and the death penalty.”
He admitted that though Democrats and Republicans may meet “to strengthen and sustain our faith … the political conclusions that people reach from that faith can lead us to have such sharply different views of the role of government, society, on the role of individual liberty, on what sorts of rights we think are most central.” (RELATED: Donald Trump Looks For Political Salvation From Evangelical Leaders)
Coons admitted that the current political atmosphere that has been defined by the impeachment of the president “is genuinely draining some of the friendships I’ve had to work on over the last decade … I have got a number of friends who I work really well with, but on certain issues and on certain topics, we just can barely speak about it anymore.”
Evangelical leaders have recently come to the president’s defense when the editor of Christianity Today, a magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, advocated Trump’s impeachment.
But neither man is prepared to let political differences lead to personal animosity.
“The whole reason we have a Congress is to resolve disputes without resorting to violence so that people who come from very different states and from very different frameworks and very different values can come together here and resolve things,” Coons said.
Lankford agreed. “That means people who I disagree with, I should be able to disagree with them in a way that still respects them as a person. That changes the way that I debate, that changes the way I engage on issues because of my own personal faith.”