Get Equal co-director Heather Cronk can be seen in video shot by Mark Winston Griffith and tweeted by the group.
— GetEQUAL (@GetEQUAL) June 21, 2016
“Your lies are causing violence,” Cronk said. “Your hatred is causing violence. We need for you to take responsibility for the massacre in Orlando.” At that point she can be seen being grabbed by a female staffer and very abruptly removed from the room at the Marriott Marquis hotel.
More Get Equal members as well as ACT UP demonstrators, Latin leaders and Christian and Islamic religious groups, all opposed to Trump’s anticipated nomination by the Republican party, joined in a protest outside his New York City event, which drew scores of conservative Christians from across the country.
“We are here to protest Donald Trump and the conservative Christians who embrace him because the xenophobic, racist, and homophobic lies that Trump and his followers tell every day have real-world consequences. While other groups look to gun control or increased policing of LGBTQ people of color, we know that xenophobia, racism, and homophobia are the true reasons for violence against queer and trans people of color.”
At the event, and at a smaller gathering prior to the big conference, Trump vowed to change tax law to allow tax-exempt groups including churches to promote political candidates they support, promised to appoint “pro-life” Supreme Court justices and called religious liberty the number one question facing America today, according to the Washington Post.
“I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity — and other religions, is to allow you, when you talk religious liberty, to go and speak openly and if you like somebody or want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do it,” Trump said.
His remarks reportedly brought the hundreds in attendance to their feet for a standing ovation.
At this earlier, smaller gathering, Trump questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton, who is a Methodist. Trump is a Presbyterian, and he told the dozen or so attendees only one candidate was worthy of their prayers.
— E.W. Jackson (@ewjacksonsr) June 21, 2016
“She’s been in the public eye for years and years and yet there’s nothing out there, there’s, like, nothing out there. She’s going to be an extension of Obama but it’s going to be worse because with Obama you had your guard up, with Hillary you don’t and it’s going to be worse. So, I think people were saying, some of the people were saying, ‘Let’s pray for our leaders.’ Well, you can pray for your leaders, and I agree with that, pray for everyone, but what you really have to do is you have to pray to get everybody out to vote, and for one specific person. We can’t be politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders because all of your leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes, selling the evangelicals down the tubes, and it’s a very, very bad thing that’s happening.”
Clinton’s campaign responded with an announcement of support from Deborah Fikes, who has advised the World Evangelical Association.
“‘Sister Hillary’ as she is often called, is embraced by many evangelical sister churches as a trustworthy and respected political leader because she lives the Golden Rule in her private life and in her public policies,” Fikes said in the statement. “Hillary Clinton is the leader who people of faith are looking for, and we are praying that Sister Hillary and not Mr. Trump will be elected in November.”
Trump went so far as to promise attendees at the smaller event that he’d find a way to win the so-called “War on Christmas:” “We’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again” in department stores, he said.
— E.W. Jackson (@ewjacksonsr) June 21, 2016
Among the Christian leaders taking part in Tuesday’s program were James Dobson, Ralph Reed and Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham. And although the group did not endorse Trump’s candidacy, following the event his campaign announced the formation of what it called an “evangelical executive board,” which included the names of 20 men, including Reed, Dobson and Jerry Falwell Jr., and one woman, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Conservative Christians opposed to Trump’s nomination met before and after the official event to rally their #NeverTrump forces against the presumptive nominee. They’ve formed a new group called Better for America, a coalition of social conservatives and other moderate Republicans who are opposing Trump, reported the Post.