As three other advisory boards disband following the president’s response to the Virginia violence, Jerry Falwell Jr tweets support for Trump
Donald Trump was forced to disband two business advisory councils and an infrastructure panel after some of America’s most prominent business leaders fled their posts, protesting against Trump’s statements appeasing white nationalist marchers at the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But the president’s religious evangelical advisory board, a mix of radical born-again preachers, televangelists and conservative political influencers, still stands almost intact. Not only have members avoided criticism of the president, while occasionally scolding the violence in general – some have been openly supportive of Trump’s statements assigning blame “on many sides” and slamming those who turned up to oppose the militant neo-Nazis.
Jerry Falwell Jr tweeted on Wednesday: “Finally, a leader in the White House. Jobs returning, North Korea backing down, bold truthful statement about Charlottesville tragedy. So proud of Donald Trump.” He did add, on Thursday, again via Twitter: “The truth as stated by Donald Trump is that violent white supremacists, Nazi, KKK and similar hate groups are pure evil and un-American,” but that may have been too little, too late for some.
Council member, preacher and Fox News commentator Robert Jeffress told a Christian TV channel: “Racism comes in all shapes, all sizes and, yes, all colors. If we’re going to denounce some racism, we ought to denounce all racism.”
A.R Bernard, a senior pastor and chief executive of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, issued a statement on Friday announcing his resignation. He said he had agreed to serve on the board because “it often takes a gathering of unlikely individuals to shape the future of our nation”. He said: “However, it became obvious that there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration. I quietly stepped away from my involvement with the board several months ago and submitted my formal letter of resignation as of Tues Aug 15, 2017.”
Here are the members of the president’s panel of ultra-conservative religious cheerleaders.
- This article was amended on 18 August 2017 to correct the spelling of James Robison’s name and to remove James McDonald, who resigned from the advisory council in October of 2016.