Donald Trump is slamming the campaign of pro-abortion candidate Hillary Clinton over recent emails from her top campaign staff trashing Catholic voters. Like millions of Catholic voters, Trump is concerned about the recently leaked emails from WikiLeaks that show top Clinton staffers calling Catholic voters “severely backwards.”
In a new interview with the global Catholic network EWTN scheduled to air Thursday at 8 p.m., Trump said his pro-abortion rival should apologize.
Podesta appeared to write in emails that the campaign had created Catholic groups to organize on issues like contraception. Trump questioned how any Catholics or evangelicals could vote for her after the emails were leaked.
“It’s her. It’s her,” Trump said. “She should apologize. I think she has to do more than apologize. You know, that’s her thinking. That’s her staff.”
Trump also appealed to both Catholic and evangelical voters by saying he would get rid of the Johnson Amendment.
Trump said he feels religious liberty is in “tremendous trouble.” He said he spoke with religious leaders and asked them when they were going to endorse him. They told him they couldn’t because they would risk losing their tax-exempt status.
“And I said, ‘Why is that?’ And they told me about the Johnson Amendment 1954,” Trump said. He was referring to a change in the U.S. tax code in 1954 championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson who introduced an amendment prohibiting certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing and opposing political candidates.
“And, I thought about it for a month. And we had a meeting again. Fifty-six different pastors, ministers, etc., and I said ‘We’re going to get rid of the Johnson Amendment because our pastors and ministers should have the right to go out and speak their minds.’ ”
The Johnson Amendment to the federal tax code bars churches and many other non-profit organizations from endorsing specific candidates.
Getting rid of the Johnson Amendment would be “one of the most important things that I’ll be doing for the evangelicals and for religion,” Trump said.
Wikileaks released transcripts of an email exchange entitled “Conservative Catholicism” between Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, campaign spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri, and John Halpin, a staffer at the Clinton allied Center for American Progress.
In the email thread Halpin mocks News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thompson, Managing Editor of Wall Street Journal, for raising their kids Catholic.
Halpin writes about these Catholics: “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy…”
Clinton spokesperson Palmieri agreed: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
Halpin replied: “Excellent point. They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they’re talking about.”
Brian Burch, the head of the pro-life group CathlicVote, is livid and is calling on these top Clinton campaign officials to be fired.
“Aside from their blatant bigotry and ignorance about the philosophy and social teachings of Catholicism, does anyone notice a pattern here?” he asked. “Hillary has already called half of her opponents’ supporters ‘a basket of deplorables’ and ‘irredeemable.’ Now we get a glimpse of what her staff and friends think about Catholics in particular: They mock Catholic converts. They ridicule Catholics for raising their kids Catholic. They call our faith ‘severely backwards.’”
“Make no mistake, had Clinton staff and allies spoken this way about other groups, they would be dismissed. Just imagine if Clinton’s spokesperson was caught calling prominent Muslims or Jewish converts frauds for embracing their faith and mocking them for doing so because it was socially acceptable,” Burch continued. “This morning we called on Jennifer Palmieri to resign immediately from the Clinton campaign.”