Donald Trump stopped by the nation’s capital Friday afternoon to address the annual Values Voter Summit, promising the conservative gathering that he would protect and “cherish” Christian values if he wins the White House in November.
At the Family Research Council-hosted summit, the Republican presidential nominee gave a shout-out to the evangelical voters that backed him during the primaries and encouraged them to vote in the general election.
“Lot of people said, ‘I wonder if Donald Trump will get the evangelicals,’” Trump told the Washington, D.C. crowd. “I got the evangelicals.”
“If you do [vote],” we’re going to win by a lot. If you don’t, it could be a very unhappy Nov. 8,” he said.
Reiterating his pitch to repeal the Johnson amendment -- which prohibits tax-exempt organizations like churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates -- Trump said he would “give our churches their voice back.”
“The Johnson amendment has blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits. If they want to talk about christianity, if they want to talk about politics, they’re unable to do so,” he said. “We’re gonna get rid of that law.”
The thrice-married real estate magnate threw in a joke he’s told before to Orlando pastors about repealing the amendment: “I figure that’s the only way I’m getting to heaven.”
Trump also touted his new education policy proposals to the conservative crowd. In addition to his $20 billion federal budget reallocation for school vouchers, Trump said he would “campaign to get the states to re-allocate another $110 billion of their education budgets to school choice programs.”
“As your president, I will be the biggest cheerleader for school choice you’ve ever seen,” he said, promising that in his White House “parents can home school their children.”
Common Core standards, Trump had a succinct proposal: “We’re gonna end it.”
Trump also repeated several pitches to minority votes that he presented during last week’s visit to an African American church in Detroit.
“Our inner cities are a disaster,” Trump opined. And to black and Hispanic parents, he said again, “What do you have to lose? It can’t get any worse.”
Trump’s most popular appeals to the crowed-- those that drew the most applause and cheering chants -- were his critiques of Hillary Clinton, who recently criticized the billionaire for a lack of preparedness to be commander-in-chief.
Trump also attempted to turn a Clinton talking point on its head. Where the Democratic nominee has alleged that Trump’s candidacy is a “gift to ISIS” because of policies like banning Muslims from the U.S., the billionaire told the crowd Friday that terror organizations say they hope Clinton wins.
“They dream about it every night, having Hillary Clinton,” Trump said, but did not present any evidence for his argument.
Trump, who prides himself on unpredictability when it comes to foreign policy, even blasted Clinton for presenting a counterterrorism plan to the American people.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be so honest when it comes to military strategy,” Trump said. “I hope I didn’t lose your vote.”