GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump
on Friday met with Christian conservative Tony Perkins in
Trump toured areas affected by the
deadly rains, ignoring the request of Democratic Governor John Bel
Edwards for politicians to hold off on visiting the area.
Perkins is the president of the Family
Research Council (FRC) and the interim pastor at Greenwell Springs
Baptist Church, according to the church's website. Perkins welcomed
Trump and running mate Mike Pence to the church.
“You're going to be fine,” Trump
is quoted by Reuters as telling several dozen supporters gathered
On Friday, Perkins knocked President
Barack Obama's response to the flooding, saying during an appearance
on Fox News' Fox and Friends that Trump “could have sent a
post card and it would be more than Barack Obama has done.” Obama
is expected to tour the area on Tuesday.
Perkins earlier said that he and his
family were forced to escape their home by canoe, calling the flood
of “near biblical proportions” and a sign that God considers them
“worthy of suffering for his sake.”
His comments were met with skepticism
due to previous remarks that natural disasters are sent by God as a
sign that he's angry about the path America is headed down.
During an interview last year, Perkins
agreed with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's statement that God had sent
Hurricane Joaquin to Hawaii because he was angry about the
legalization of marriage equality and abortion. “God is trying to
send us a message,” Perkins is quoted as saying.
In a video posted on the Trump
campaign's Twitter account, the presidential candidate is seen
talking to Evangelist Franklin Graham outside the Greenwell Springs
Graham, the son of evangelist Billy
Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, is also a
vocal opponent of LGBT rights.
Last year, Graham defended Perkins'
opposition to LGBT rights after the FRC president was asked on Face
the Nation whether his group deserves to be labeled an “anti-gay
“Just because Christians take a stand
aligned with what the Word of God says is true, that doesn't mean we
are anti-gay. It means that we love people enough to warn them,”
Graham wrote in a Facebook post.
Graham insists he and Tony Perkins are not anti-gay.)
The optics of the meeting would seem to
undermine Trump's claim that he's better for the LGBT community than
Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival. Trump has claimed that his
immigration policies will keep all Americans safe, including the LGBT
“As your president, I will do
everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the
violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me,”
he said in accepting the GOP nomination for president in Cleveland.
Pence opposed bill promoting gay rights abroad.)