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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal


Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:22 PM

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FAITH: Three Members Of WH Board Of Evangelical Advisers Distance Themselves From Trump Remarks On Immigration

At least three members of the White House’s informal board of evangelical advisers have distanced themselves from President Trump’s alleged reference to “shithole countries” during talks about immigration reform.

In the past, when Trump’s critics have pressed board members to repudiate language of the president that was widely deemed offensive, the advisers have demurred, arguing that it’s not their role to publicly chastise the president.

But this particular comment, allegedly made Thursday (Jan. 11) in response to lawmakers who asked about protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa, has seemingly left at least some of these advisers uncomfortable enough to counter with their own words on the topic.

And other board members, usually quick to jump to the president’s defense, have declined to answer questions about the remark, which caused a firestorm overnight — with many commentators describing it as racist.

That was not the take of the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a member of the unofficial evangelical advisory board and the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. But he noted that “every single person is created in the image of God” and spoke of welcoming people equally from Nigeria and Norway, albeit after “a rigorous vetting process.”

Later in the day, he said more: “In addition, and with great due deference, I believe that the comments attributed to our president can best be described as wrong, inappropriate, and hurtful. Why? Because when God looks at these nations, He sees His children.”

Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and another adviser, was also critical of the president’s remarks. He told The Washington Post: “I would not agree with those comments at all. We need to see that every person is made in the image of God.”

Johnnie Moore, a former vice president of Liberty University and the de facto spokesman for the unofficial advisory board, responded to RNS in an email about Trump’s alleged remark: “Obviously, those words aren’t words we would use, and everyone who knows us knows this.”

Trump published a series of tweets denying that he used the term “shithole” after The Washington Post reported on the meeting. He also said that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians.”

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA!” read one of his tweets.