Robert Morris nixed from Trump’s Evangelical advisory board as Texas pols condemn abuse

U.S. President Donald Trump (C), flanked by Bishop Harry Jackson (R, now deceased) and Pastor Robert Morris, hosts a roundtable with faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and small business owners at Gateway Church Dallas Campus in Dallas, Texas, on June 11, 2020.
U.S. President Donald Trump (C), flanked by Bishop Harry Jackson (R, now deceased) and Pastor Robert Morris, hosts a roundtable with faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and small business owners at Gateway Church Dallas Campus in Dallas, Texas, on June 11, 2020. | NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Though he previously featured prominently in former President Donald Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, Gateway Church’s founding pastor, Robert Morris, who recently resigned in the wake of child sex abuse allegations, no longer has a role in it, a spokesperson for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign has said.

While Morris hosted Trump at Gateway Church in June 2020 when Trump referred to him and fellow Pastor Steve Dulin as “great people with a great reputation,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told The New York Times that he was not included this year.

“President Trump’s broad appeal among faith communities across the country is a testament to his unwavering commitment to upholding faith and the protection of religious liberties,” Cheung said.

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Cindy Clemishire, 54.
Cindy Clemishire, 54. | Screenshot/CBS News

Morris’ exclusion from the former president’s powerful group of Evangelical backers comes as current and former Texas politicians are speaking out after 54-year-old grandmother Cindy Clemishire reported that the megachurch pastor began sexually abusing her on Dec. 25, 1982, when she was just 12 years old, and continued with the abuse for four-and-a-half years after that. 

“I am deeply troubled by the recent revelations about Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church. His confession of criminal activity and moral failure is shocking and unacceptable. My heart goes out to the woman whose life was irrevocably altered by his actions when she was just a child,” Texas Republican state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione wrote on X. “She deserves justice and support. Pastor Morris must be held accountable for his actions. The pain he has caused cannot be erased, and he should face the consequences of his crimes. I stand with any victims and will continue to fight for their rights and safety.”

John Huffman, former mayor of Southlake, where the headquarters of church is located in Texas, said on X that many members of the church community “feel quite helpless to put into words our thoughts.”

“I’ve had many conversations, and seen many posts online, with friends and neighbors who are at a loss for words because of the news coming out of Gateway Church. Yet, the scandal caused by the exposure of the sin committed by Pastor Robert Morris demands a response,” Huffman said Tuesday, hours before Morris stepped down from the helm of the megachurch.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned after two decades of executive leadership, it’s this: leaders should be held to a higher standard. Certain types of leaders, like pastors, should be held to the HIGHEST standard. Elizabeth and I know so many wonderful people connected to Gateway Church. We were blessed to receive support from these folks as Mayor and in our run for Congress. They are our friends and family members in Christ. And that is what compels me to speak out and condemn the past actions of Pastor Morris in the strongest possible terms,” he explained before calling for Morris’ firing while noting that “He should have spent time in jail, but he didn’t.”

Clemishire’s attorney, Boz Tchividjian, told USA TODAY that he is exploring all legal options to get justice for Clemishire, but because the statute of limitations in place in the late 1980s for sexual abuse was "fairly short," Morris cannot face criminal or civil charges.

"This just demonstrates the absolute importance of statute of limitations reform, both in criminal and civil cases," Tchividjian told the publication. "When somebody is traumatized as a child, for many it takes decades to process that trauma to even be ready to speak out or do something about it."

State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, told the GazetteXtra that local legislators must improve laws to ensure justice for victims of child sexual abuse.

“There must be no safe haven or security for anyone who abuses a child in Texas,” Leach said. “To that end, the Texas Legislature must continue to improve our laws protecting and ensuring justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse and holding criminals and those who aid them responsible. Texas should be leading in this area, and as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a longtime advocate for victims and their families I intend to lock arms with fellow lawmakers to do just that.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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