Tony Perkins is president of the now infamous Family Research Council, a conservative policy and lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C. The Council also happens to be recognized as a hate group for a multitude of reasons by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Law Center recently gave their reasoning for why Tony Perkin’s attempt to include gay ‘conversion therapy’ in the GOP platform is wrong and dangerous.
Last January, Perkins made news for giving his endorsement to Ted Cruz for President. Speaking to Megyn Kelly on Fox News, he said:
‘Leadership isn’t all about making deals. Leadership is about standing on principle –about respecting the Constitution. No one understands the Constitution like Ted Cruz.’
Well, it seems that Tony Perkin’s principles have changed, and he’s now backing Donald Trump, as evident by his appearance at the Republican National Convention. Ted Cruz refused to endorse Trump, but spoke about the Constitution and religious freedom instead, to a heckling and booing crowd. He also said something rather unexpected:
Cruz: ‘Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.’
Perkins railed against the perceived assault on Christianity by the government and backed Trump:
‘Donald Trump has committed to upholding and protecting the first freedom and therefore our ability as citizens to unite our nation once again under God.’
He made no mention of his prior endorsement of Cruz. He also did not give any evidence for his claims about how specifically Christianity was ‘under assault.’ The video will be posted at the end of this article for his full RNC speech.
After his speech, he was quoted as saying, ‘You know what? Nations are built on calculated risk. Yeah. You could say we’re taking a calculated risk, but we’re at a point where we have to as a nation because what we have seen in the last seven and a half years has put the nation fiscally and culturally on the edge.’
It’s now evident from Trump’s recent visit to the flood-ravaged state of Louisiana, that Trump is intent on courting more of the evangelical base in the state. Helping out flood victims seems to have been an afterthought to political maneuvering. He visited with his running-mate Mike Pence on August 19th and handed out items from a truck for a photo-op, which for some reason included the child’s toy, Play-Doh.
Much can be said about Trump’s choice to appear with Pence himself, as Pence’s reputation proceeds him with his anti-LGBT stances in his state of Indiana. He might as well have picked a running mate from the Westboro Church.
Much can also be said about Trump’s decision to meet with Tony Perkins at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church on the outskirts of Baton Rouge. In the video of Trump’s visit to the church, Perkins complains about Obama not visiting the state, while simultaneously making the case that the church, not the government, is most responsible for helping out in the aftermath of events such as floods. Perkin’s own house was flooded, though he has in the past claimed that hurricanes are a punishment for homosexuality. Can you say, ‘schadenfreude?’
Perkins made a public statement on Facebook that claimed Trump had donated an undisclosed amount to the church:
I also want to let you know that as a result of his visit to our church and seeing the work that we are doing to help the community, Donald Trump is sending a financial contribution to the church to aid our efforts.
CNN reporter, Ashley Killough confirmed on Twitter:
Trump donated $100k to a La. church helping w/ flood relief effort, along w/ truck of supplies he helped unload Friday, per his spokeswoman
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) August 21, 2016
The church is Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which Trump visited Friday and where Tony Perkins is interim pastor https://t.co/iw9dbipEdF
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) August 21, 2016
Snopes has ruled: ‘There is no confirmation that Donald Trump gave money directly to Tony Perkins or the Family Research Council.’ We’ll leave it up to the reader to discern if Donald Trump is supporting a known hate group with his visit. He previously claimed he was a better friend to the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton, shortly before choosing Pence as his running-mate.
Strangely, Tony Perkins agreed that Trump would be better for the LGBT community than would Hillary Clinton in June, due to the threat of terrorist attack.
Perkins: ‘No American should live in fear and that’s exactly what Donald Trump is saying and that’s what – evangelicals believe the same thing.’
Perkins evaded any comment on the real threat that the LGBT community face from extremist leaders such as himself here at home. Some might call that home-grown terrorism. Trump should consider himself an ally to them, rather than to the LGBT community.