Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign was thrown into crisis mode on Friday afternoon after the Washington Post released a video that showed him bragging about sexually assaulting women. Things got even worse next day, when CNN released audio recordings of Trump telling radio host Howard Stern that he could refer to his daughter as “a piece of ass.”
The political bombshells sent a shockwave through Trump’s support network, with several of his longtime backers condemning his remarks, rescinding their endorsement, or even calling on him to drop out of the race. Among conservatives—a group that has long championed “family values”—Trump’s comments finally appeared to be a bridge too far.
Yet one group has remained shockingly supportive of Trump: members of his Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, a cadre of pastors and religious leaders tasked with advising the candidate on matters of faith. Members of the board are not required to endorse Trump, and many have refused to do so (although their mere association with him has caused some evangelicals to levy accusations of spiritual cowardice).
Yet almost 24 hours since news of Trump’s comments broke, most members of the board—several of which are traditional leaders of the Religious Right—have yet to comment, and others have either explained away his remarks or reiterated their support for the candidate.
In an email to the Washington Post, Reed — head of Trump’s advisory board and the Faith and Freedom Coalition — the comments were “inappropriate,” but pivoted to attacking Clinton.