FILE - In this Saturday, July 1, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump is greeted by Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Dallas Church as he arrives to speak during the Celebrate Freedom event at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Many religious leaders have strongly condemned Trump's disparaging remarks about minority members of Congress. "He does not judge people by the color of their skin," said Jeffress, a frequent guest at the White House. "He judges people on whether they support him," Jeffress said. "If you embrace him, he'll embrace you. If you attack him, he'll attack you. That's the definition of color blind." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Leaders of religious right balk at labeling Trump a racist

August 01, 2019 - 1:59 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Many religious leaders have strongly condemned President Donald Trump's disparaging remarks about minority members of Congress.

Prominent figures on the religious right have not joined in, instead maintaining public silence or insisting that Trump's tactics reflect hard-nosed politics, not racism.

Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress says Trump "judges people on whether they support him."

Evangelical leader Franklin Graham contends the left is misusing the word "racism" as a political weapon.

Debate over Trump's inflammatory tweets and comments has flared in recent weeks. He told four congresswomen of color — three of them born in the U.S.--to "go back" where they came from.

He derided the Rev. Al Sharpton and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings and called the majority-black city of Baltimore a "rodent-infested mess."