Evangelical leader Tony Perkins was quick to condemn Josh Duggar for being unfaithful to his wife, but he’s giving President Donald Trump a pass when it comes to his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. According to Perkins, conservative Christians should base their judgement of Trump on the policies he supports, not his moral failings.
During a recent interview with Politico, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins made the case for Christians to continue supporting Donald Trump in the wake of reports that he cheated on Melania Trump with an adult film actress. The alleged affair took place in 2006, just months after the future first lady gave birth to her first and only child.
Such behavior may not jibe with the “family values” that the FRC purports to fight for, but Tony Perkins believes that evangelicals shouldn’t abandon Trump over the infidelity allegations. Even if they are true, Perkins believes that the president deserves at least one free pass for bad behavior. While defending Trump, Perkins made sure to include a reference to one of Trump’s favorite pastimes: he used a golf term to let the POTUS know that all is forgiven.
“We kind of gave him—’All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,'” Perkins said of Donald Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels.
Perkins also stated that he doesn’t believe that Donald Trump is “using evangelicals” and pandering them to just because he needs their continued support to get reelected. He insisted that the president really “enjoys” his relationship with them, even though Trump himself is not an evangelical.
Tony Perkins believes that Donald Trump’s policy positions on “life and religious liberty” are what got him elected. In other words, evangelicals were willing to ignore Trump’s personal flaws and vote for him in hopes of furthering their agenda. Perkins and those who share his worldview have been pleased with the policies that Trump has enacted so far, so they’ll continue to support the president as long as he advances their cause.
Perkins may be able to overlook Donald Trump’s alleged infidelity, but he wasn’t so forgiving of one of his former employees. In 2015, Josh Duggar admitted to being unfaithful to his wife. The former 19 Kids and Counting star had previously been employed as the Executive Director of FRC Action, a position he was forced to resign from when it was discovered that he had sexually molested his younger sisters as a teenager.
Even though Josh Duggar was no longer an FRC employee at the time he made his infidelity confession, Tony Perkins decided to release a statement condemning his actions.
“Our hearts hurt for his family, and all those affected by Josh’s actions. His deceitful behavior harms his family, his friends, his former coworkers, and the cause he has publicly espoused,” Perkins said, as reported by People.
“Those of us who advocate for family values in the public square are held to a higher standard, and Josh’s failures serve as a painful reminder of the destructive effects of not living with integrity.”
Tony Perkins has released no such statement about Donald Trump’s alleged infidelity.
According to Mediaite, Tony Perkins elaborated on why he believes Donald Trump deserves a mulligan during an appearance on Erin Burnett OutFront. He pointed out that the president’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels took place a decade ago, and he said that he wouldn’t be so forgiving if Trump did something morally questionable during his time in the White House.
“Let me be very clear, if the president were to continue continue to engage in behavior that’s alleged to have happened ten years ago, that support is not going to be there,” Perkins said.
However, according to Fortune, it’s possible that Donald Trump’s only questionable behavior involving Stormy Daniels did not take place ten years ago. He has been accused of paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money during his 2016 presidential campaign, and a nonpartisan watchdog group believes that the payment was illegal.
Tony Perkins was not specifically asked about the alleged payment to Stormy Daniels during his Politico interview, which also included praise for Donald Trump’s “humility” and his willingness “to punch the bully.” According to Perkins, the “bully” in this scenario is anyone who supported Barack Obama’s presidency.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tony Perkins once spoke out against anti-bullying policies that aimed to help LGBTQ victims of bullying. His other controversial actions include claiming that homosexuality is tied to pedophilia and speaking at an event held by a white supremacist group.