Why hasn’t Trump’s conservative Christian advisory board resigned?

Michelle Bachmann and other religious right leaders meet with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office
Michelle Bachmann and other religious right leaders meet with President Donald Trump in the Oval OfficePhoto: Facebook/Michele Bachmann

Three advisory boards to Donald Trump have either resigned or been disbanded because of his refusal to condemn the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. But the Evangelical Advisory Board has remained nearly intact.

Earlier this week, members of his Manufacturing Council and his Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum (both boards made up of business leaders) started resigning, citing Trump’s claim that “many sides” were to blame for violence at last week’s white supremacist rally. So many CEOs left that Trump disbanded both of the councils.

Yesterday, every member of Trump’s arts advisory panel – the Committee on the Arts and the Humanities – resigned en masse, citing Trump’s “support for hate groups and terrorism” in a letter posted on Twitter.

So… what about Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board?

Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board was announced in June, 2016, with 25 members, including Michele Bachmann, Jerry Falwell Jr., and James Dobson. One board member, A.R. Bernard, resigned yesterday, but he only made a vague statement about “a deepening conflict in values” that didn’t mention Charlottesville or Trump.

Some of the other board members have remained silent about the white supremacist rally, and those who have spoken about it have stayed away from criticizing Trump’s reaction. For example, board member Ralph Reed, best known for his role in the Abramoff scandal in the early 2000’s, tweeted:

But few of the board’s members expressed support for Trump. Jerry Falwell Jr. tweeted about Trump’s statement, calling it “bold” and “truthful.”

South Carolina pastor and television personality Mark Burns expressed his support for Trump on Sky News and criticized the anti-racist counter-protestors for being violent.

Regular Fox News commentator Robert Jeffress claimed the media misinterpreted Trump’s comments and said, “Racism comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.”

Televangelist James Robison didn’t specifically comment about Trump’s statements, but he did have criticism (in the form of a prayer) for those who want to “root up and tear down” Confederate statues.

The Religious Right is fond of saying that their faith gives them the strength and the purpose to speak out against what they believe is wrong. So either that hasn’t made these conservative Christian leaders as strong as CEOs and artists, or they just don’t think that it’s wrong for Trump to equivocate on violent white nationalism.

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