On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to announce that he is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but will delay implementation for six months, presumably to give Congress time to enact a legislative solution for the so-called DREAMers, or young immigrants brought here illegally as children. Trump had promised to end DACA while campaigning for president, but the move isn't popular with corporate leaders, some top Republicans, most GOP voters, the broader electorate, or, it turns out, members of Trump's loyal evangelical advisory board.
Trump has turned to his evangelical advisory board for policy advice since the campaign, and its multi-ethnic members have remained at Trump's side after the Access Hollywood tape captured Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, and other rocky patches. Only one of the two dozen evangelical leaders quit after Trump's equivocal response to white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, even as members of Trump's corporate advisory boards jumped ship. At a meeting in the Oval Office last Friday, a handful of the evangelical advisers urged Trump to show compassion for the DREAMers, one participant, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, tells The Washington Post.
This is the kind of issue that keeps the evangelical pastors at Trump's table, Franklin explained. "If I resign every time [the president] does something I don't agree with, then I lose the ability to have influence and speak up for the DREAMer children [and] the minorities that feel offended and hurt by the Charlottesville incident," he said. "That is why I am supposed to be there."
Other evangelical leaders offered slightly different reasons for maintaining close contact with Trump, including Christian empathy. But, notes the Post's Frances Stead Sellers, "for many, there is a pragmatic reason to stand with Trump. The president won the election with the support of 81 percent of white evangelicals," and his rollback of gay rights, pick of Mike Pence as vice president, and nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court have been very popular with conservative Christians. You can read more at The Washington Post, and hear why Trump may be trying to play both sides of the DACA issue in the CNN discussion below. Peter Weber