President Donald Trump on Friday lamented attacks on American “values” and vowed to protect religious groups in a speech given just over a year after a tape of him bragging about sexual assault went public.
Addressing a crowd at this year’s Values Voter Summit, an ultra-conservative, anti-LGBTQ event, Trump said he wants to end “attacks on Judeo-Christian values.” He quoted President George Washington in saying that “religion and morality are indispensable” in American politics.
“It is our faith and our values that inspires us to give with charity, to act with courage and to sacrifice for what we know is right,” he said, noting that “in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
This is the first time a sitting president has attended the event, which is sponsored by the Family Research Council, a prominent Christian lobbying group. Trump received widespread support from conservative Christians, especially white evangelicals, during the 2016 election― even in the face of his comments about groping women.
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet,” Trump told Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” in the now-infamous tape from 2004. “Grab them by the pussy.”
Trump has been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment and unwanted advances by over a dozen women.
The apparent contradiction in values isn’t a complete surprise. Attendees of last year’s Values Voter Summit told HuffPost they were willing to forgive Trump’s past sins. Last year’s event occurred before the “Access Hollywood” tape went public, but Trump already had a storied history of bragging about his sexual prowess and leveling cruel insults at fellow candidates and critics.
“I know that Donald Trump may not be Jesus Christ but he’s a lot better option for me than Hillary Clinton is,” one attendee, Hannah Holt, said.