WASHINGTON — The president of the Family Research Council believes that Donald Trump continues to show "uncharacteristic courage" in fighting for the unborn and other social conservative causes. And he defended hosting Steve Bannon as a speaker at this year's Values Voter Summit.
"Clearly the President has some views that I may not share 100 percent," said Tony Perkins in an interview with The Christian Post Friday afternoon shortly after President Trump's address to the Values Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, the first sitting President to ever do so.
"But the President has shown uncharacteristic courage [toward] the political class. He has stood in the face of relentless opposition and criticism, because, first off, the liberals, the Left never thought he would win," he said. "Secondly, I don't think they ever thought he would actually keep his promises because most politicians don't."
Perkins added he would continue to support the president as long as he keeps fulfilling the pledges he made, and he is optimistic about the future even as much work remains ahead. He told CP that he believes we are at a challenging and dangerous time in modern history but is confident in the direction the Trump administration is taking.
A sign positioned outside the Regency ballroom where the Summit speakers spoke read: "The views expressed at these sessions are those of the sponsoring organization and each speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of FRC Action, FRC, or any other sponsor."
CP asked Perkins if that sign was referring to Steve Bannon in light of the controversy that has surrounded him regarding his connections to alt-right types and other troubling things that have been unearthed about the former White House advisor.
"This is a coalition effort. In other words, we have many co-sponsors and this is a platform for those who are working in the conservative movement, the social conservative movement," Perkins said.
Bannon was instrumental in the September primary election defeat of Trump-backed Luther Strange, the senator from Alabama appointed to replace the now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He rallied in favor Roy Moore, twice elected that state's Supreme Court Justice and who also addressed the Summit Friday. Moore defeated Strange by a sizable margin and is expected to win against Democrat Doug Jones on December 12.
Perkins noted Bannon's efforts to recruit Senate candidates, like Moore and others, who will challenge the status quo.
"We have a lot of like-minded friends that, you know, we may not agree with on everything, but there is a moment of opportunity and we must seize the moment for those that are willing to help advance the cause of the type of candidates that we can be supportive of. This is a platform of them," Perkins said.
He believes that "without question" the Republican establishment in the Senate is standing in the way of progress, citing their recent failures to repeal Obamacare. He said he has spoken to senators privately about their 2015 Obamacare repeal effort in the budget reconciliation bill and was told that the vote was a "messaging vote," to which he replied: "Really, well you didn't tell the American people that."
Americans gave control of both Houses of Congress in the past few years largely over this health care bill and last fall the White House, he said, noting that some in the Senate seem to be intentionally blocking and thwarting the President's efforts.
"And people are tired of it," Perkins said. "So yes, we are looking for those candidates, who are willing to come and drain the swamp."