President Trump told Christian supporters on Friday that he believes “we have God on our side” as he kicked off the year with a campaign reelection event.
Launching his “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition on Friday at a Miami-area church, Trump spoke to the crowd of cheering evangelical Christians about the attack on faith in the nation as well as addressing the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian military official.
“Evangelicals, Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith, have never had a greater champion in the White House — not even close — than you have right now,” the president said at the King Jesus International Ministry church in West Kendall.
“Together, we’re not only are we defending our Constitutional rights, we’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege,” Trump said. “Every Democrat candidate running for president is trying to punish religious believers and silence our churches and our pastors.”
Recounting the support among evangelicals he received during the 2016 campaign, Trump promised he would “blow those numbers away in 2020.” Telling the crowd to “get out and vote” in November sparked chants of “four more years.”
“I really do believe we have God on our side … or there would have been no way that we could have won,” Trump said. “People say, ‘How do you win? You don’t have the media. You have so many things against you,’ and we win. So there has to be something.”
The president had pointed to the coalition of evangelicals as “one of the most important grassroots movements in American history.”
A group of evangelical leaders, including the Miami church’s pastor, Guillermo Maldonado, prayed over the president before he began his remarks.
Maldonado and the Ministerio Internacional El Rey Jesús megachurch had come under attack by an atheist group ahead of the president’s event.
Atheist group sends demand to IRS to investigate Miami megachurch over Trump rally https://t.co/2GJDH6HjYH
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 1, 2020
The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued in a letter to the IRS that the church was in violation of the Johnson Amendment by hosting the planned Friday rally for Trump. Trump told supporters he “stopped” the provision in the U.S. tax code which bans nonprofit organizations from engaging in political activities.
“It’s no longer effective,” Trump said, speaking of the Johnson amendment, and the executive order he signed in 2017. He promised to make the relaxed restrictions put forth in the order “permanent” soon.
The Miami event came hours after the president ordered the airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq and just days after New Year’s attacks on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. Trump spoke publicly Friday about the strike.
“Let this be a warning to terrorists,” Trump told supporters. “If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our citizens.”
“Qasem Soleimani has been killed and his bloody rampage is now, forever gone,” he continued. “He was plotting attacks against Americans, but now we’ve ensured his atrocities have been stopped for good.”
He told the audience how the “flawless” airstrike to “terminate” the “depraved butcher” was ordered by him from his private Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach where he has been spending the holidays with his family.
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