President Donald Trump held a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders on Monday when he urged them to support his party in the November midterms, warning of consequences if Republicans lose the elections.
“This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much,” President Trump told the religious leaders gathered in the State Dining Room.
Trump further said, “they will overturn everything that we’ve done…quickly and violently.” In a recording of the meeting, obtained by CNN, the President can be heard saying that members of the Antifa could be responsible for that violence.
His comments have been interpreted by some as racist and discriminatory and indicate Trump is trying to keep his supporters on his side now more than ever. They also suggest that President Trump, who often boasts an upcoming “red wave” of voters, may not be as confident that the GOP will win the November elections.
On Tuesday, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called the President’s remarks racist. The Antifa is widely considered to be an African-American movement, so suggesting they are a violent movement demonstrates racism on the President’s part.
During the meeting, President Trump referred to the evangelical leader’s power to influence people.
“You have to hopefully get out and get people to support us. If you don’t, that will be the beginning of ending everything that you’ve gotten,” Trump told the pastors, calling on them to galvanize their congregations and followers to vote.
“I think we’re doing well, I think we’re popular, but there’s a real question as to whether people are going to vote if I’m not on the ballot. And I’m not on the ballot,” Trump added, warning again of unwanted consequences should Republicans lose.