Presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered the opening speech at the memorial for Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly Saturday afternoon. Schlafly, who died of cancer at age 92 on Monday, September 5, was well-known for her extreme politically- and socially-conservative views, including her opposition to feminism and her successful campaign against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to include non-conservative gender roles, such as allowing women in the military. According to Schlafly’s daughter, she had been ill for some time.
“We are here today to honor the life and legacy of a truly great American patriot,” said Donald Trump in his opening remarks, according to a report from Fox 2 Now. “A movement has lost its hero. Believe me that Phyllis was there for me when it was not at all fashionable. Trust me.”
Schlafly’s latest book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was released posthumously on Tuesday, the day after her death. The book was co-authored by Ed Martin (President of Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group founded by Schlafly in 1972 and called out repeatedly by the SPLC) and Brett M. Decker (Consulting Director of the White House Writers Group.) The book calls for Americans to follow high-profile evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr. and Tony Perkins in supporting Trump’s bid for the Presidency. She wrote that Trump would stop “the persecution of Christians” by “Islamists” and “the left’s political correctness.”
“Trump has gone to great lengths to court national leaders in the social-conservative movement and has convinced many of the most prominent ones that he genuinely supports their policy positions.”
“Christianity is under attack around the world – most dramatically from Islamists, but also insidiously here at home with attacks on religious freedom. Donald Trump has made a point about speaking out against the persecution of Christians abroad and against the left’s political correctness that is trying to ban public expressions of Christianity at home.”
“Trump is also outspoken on the need to defend Christians in Muslim countries and other countries where they are persecuted.”
In his speech at her memorial, Trump spoke of Schlafly as an icon, “fearlessly” fighting against a more inclusive and diverse world. He said that he was honored to be able to spend time with her during his campaign “as she waged one more great battle for national sovereignty” – language reminiscent of the recent Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom.
“Phyllis Schlafly is a conservative icon who led millions to action, reshaped the conservative movement, and fearlessly battled globalism and the ‘kingmakers’ on behalf of America’s workers and families.”
According to NBC News, prior to her memorial, when Trump announced his intentions to speak there, he referred to her as “one of the great champions for the American family.”
Schlafly officially endorsed Donald Trump’s campaign in March, when the choices were narrowed down to Trump and Ted Cruz. She said that he had the “energy” to bring change. Her endorsement was a surprise to many in the conservative camp, partly due to concerns over his loyalty to the GOP and partly because Cruz’s rhetoric was so much closer to Schlafly’s own.
Trump lauded Schlafly for endorsing him “a long time ago when it wasn’t necessarily something that was so easy to do.” He was right about that, at least; Schlafly’s endorsement earned her significant backlash from her supporters.
After Schlafly’s book was released, Trump called on his supporters to buy it as a “tribute” to her.
[Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]