Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that his campaign is establishing an evangelical executive advisory board, composed of 25 faith leaders who will advise him on issues “important to evangelicals and other people of faith in America,” read the statement.
The announcement stressed that the advisors chosen were not asked to endorse Trump, but to meet his “desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders”.
“I have such tremendous respect and admiration for this group and I look forward to continuing to talk about the issues important to evangelicals, and all Americans, and the common sense solutions I will implement when I am President,” Trump said of the new board, which will convene on a “regular basis.”
The announcement was made on the same day that Trump appeared before hundreds of Christian conservatives in New York City in order to court the evangelical vote.
Later this month, the board will launch a larger Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee.
The list of board members includes many prominent evangelical names, including former congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University; James Dobson, host of the popular radio program “Family Talk” and founder of Focus on the Family; and Ralph Reed, the founder of the influential lobbying group Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Not all of the figures are pro-Trump. Several, including Dobson and Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, have spoken out publically in criticism of Trump, who, while very popular among white evangelicals, has also sparked a difficult dilemma among many Christians who question his commitment to Biblical values. Another board member, Kenneth Copeland, had previously proclaimed that former Trump opponent Ted Cruz was “called and anointed to be the next president of the United States”.
Thus far, Trump’s appeal to evangelicals has carried him to the nomination. His new advisory board is a clear attempt to extend that support towards clinching the presidency. With some prominent evangelicals switching sides to endorse Democratic rival Hillary Trump, the outcome remains murky.
Full list of board members:
Michele Bachmann – Former Congresswoman
A.R. Bernard – Senior Pastor and CEO, Christian Cultural Center
Mark Burns – Pastor, Harvest Praise and Worship Center
Tim Clinton – President, American Association of Christian Counselors
Kenneth and Gloria Copeland – Founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries
James Dobson – Author, Psychologist and Host, My Family Talk
Jerry Falwell, Jr. – President, Liberty University
Ronnie Floyd – Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Jentezen Franklin – Senior Pastor, Free Chapel
Jack Graham – Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church
Harry Jackson – Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Robert Jeffress – Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas
David Jeremiah – Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church
Richard Land – President, Southern Evangelical Seminar
James MacDonald – Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel
Johnnie Moore – Author, President of The KAIROS Company
Robert Morris – Senior Pastor, Gateway Church
Tom Mullins – Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship
Ralph Reed – Founder, Faith and Freedom Coalition
James Robison – Founder, Life OUTREACH International
Tony Suarez – Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Jay Strack – President, Student Leadership University
Paula White – Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center
Tom Winters – Attorney, Winters and King, Inc.
Sealy Yates – Attorney, Yates and Yates