Some key national Evangelical leaders tell The Brody File that Donald Trump “may find support among social conservatives” if he runs for President and there’s a “growing curiosity” about him within Evangelical circles.
Trump will decide sometime before June about whether he’ll run for President but so far he’s declared that he’s pro-life, against gay marriage and has exhibited tough talk when it comes to fighting radical Islamists.
His bluntness to not mince words has Evangelicals wanting to hear more.
Ralph Reed, one of the top GOP strategists in the country and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition tells The Brody File:
“There is a nascent and growing curiosity in the faith community about Trump. Evangelicals will like his pro-life and pro-marriage stances, combined with his business record and high-wattage celebrity all but guarantee he will get a close look from social conservatives as well as other Republican primary voters."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is curious to hear more as well:
“Given Donald Trump's background in the gambling industry and his flamboyancy, one would not think he would be a fit with Evangelical voters. However, given the wide open field of candidates, strong statements that Trump has recently made on core social issues combined with an overarching desire to see a new occupant in the White House, he may find support among social conservatives.“
If Trump gets in, it will be interesting to see how he plays in Iowa where caucus voters pride themselves in getting to know the candidates personally.
Will Trump invest the time? Longtime social conservative activist Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, tells The Brody File:
“I think Donald Trump has got some potential and when he comes to Iowa in June. I think a lot of people will come to the event out of curiosity and see what he’s all about. The truth is he or any candidate won’t go far here in Iowa if they don’t engage one on one with caucus-goers."
"Iowans come to expect that candidates will answer tough questions in small settings. If he does retail politics, that will be a plus for him. At the end of the day, caucus-goers will need to be convinced that he’s going to expend political capitol on the issues that he talks about. Evangelicals want more than lip service.”
One prominent national evangelical leader told me that, “At this point Evangelicals are having a hard time trying to figure him out but they are intrigued.”
Another prominent evangelical Leader tells The Brody File, “Although Donald Trump is immensely colorful and entertaining it's difficult to take him seriously at this point. He has, however, gotten on evangelicals radar due to his pleasantly surprising comments on life and traditional marriage. Very few people in our circles really know him, so it's difficult to have an accurate read on him as a man. He is at the very least refreshing in his candor.”
Not all Evangelical leaders are giving Trump a shot. In South Carolina, a land full of Evangelical primary voters, Dr. Oran Smith, president of Palmetto Family, a faith-based public policy research firm, says he’s skeptical of Trump’s appeal.>
"Trump would get thumped here. He is a celebrity, but an apprentice at politics. And we know no more of his beliefs than his theme song celebrates: 'money, money, money.”
Watching Trump run for president will be front row seat, popcorn-crunching entertainment. But make no mistake. While the potential of a Trump campaign has the makings of a three-ring circus, Evangelicals seem ready at least to buy a ticket to the show.
They are not ready to say to him, "You're Fired!"