WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump assured a high-profile gathering of Christian conservatives on Friday that his administration will defend religious organizations.
He’s promising a return to traditional American values while again subtly stoking the fire he helped ignite over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
Trump is the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit. He pledged Friday to turn back the clock in what he described as a nation that has drifted away from its religious roots.
He bemoaned the use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” as a secular seasonal greeting and vowed to return “Merry Christmas” to the national discourse.
He noted, as Christian conservatives often do, that there are four references to the “creator” in the Declaration of Independence, saying that “religious liberty is enshrined” in the nation’s founding documents.
“As we approach the end of the year, we’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct. You go to department stores and they’ll say Happy New Year or they’ll say other things. And it will be red. They’ll have it painted but they don’t say it. Well, guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again! (applause).”
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