Key evangelical figures who previously supported Donald Trump are backing off now that he’s announced his third bid for the presidency.
“Donald Trump can’t save America,” Mike Evans told the Washington Post. “He can’t even save himself.”
Evans was part of a group of evangelicals who met with Trump at the White House, and at one point gave him an award.
Now, he says he’s done with Trump.
“He used us to win the White House. We had to close our mouths and eyes when he said things that horrified us,” he told the newspaper. “I cannot do that anymore.”
Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s evangelical advisors during the 2016 campaign and a longtime supporter, said he’s not ready to endorse him again.
“The Republican Party is headed toward a civil war that I have no desire or need to be part of,” he told Newsweek, adding that he would “happily” support Trump again… if he wins the nomination.
That’s not a given considering Trump’s plunging poll numbers among Republican voters. Jeffress also seemed to subtweet Trump on the day of his 2024 announcement by urging people to buy Mike Pence’s book:
Jeffress added on Twitter that he still considers Trump “a great friend and our greatest president since Reagan.”
Another onetime faith advisor to Trump, James Robison of Life Outreach International, said in a speech this week that Trump’s ego is getting in the way of the agenda.
“If Mr. Trump can’t stop his little petty issues, how does he expect people to stop major issues?” he said, according to the Washington Post.
He said he told Trump:
“Sir, you act like a little elementary schoolchild and you shoot yourself in the foot every morning you get up and open your mouth! The more you keep your mouth closed, the more successful you’re gonna be!”
He did not say if he was planning to support Trump in 2024.
Still another evangelical figure who previously endorsed Trump was even more blunt, with Washington Times columnist Everett Piper writing that Trump cost the GOP big in the midterms and could hurt them even more in two years.
“The take-home of this past week is simple: Donald Trump has to go,” he wrote. “If he‘s our nominee in 2024, we will get destroyed.”