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Evangelical leaders planning sit-down with Trump over Stormy Daniels

The Hill logo The Hill 4/6/2018 John Bowden
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Several Evangelical Christian leaders are planning a sit-down with President Trump in June over allegations that his lawyer paid an adult film star $130,000 in 2016 for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.

NPR reports several sources familiar with negotiations between top faith leaders and the Trump White House want the president to appear and take questions from supporters at a gathering of faith leaders on June 19 at his hotel in Washington, D.C.

"We're very concerned" about the allegations, the leader of one ministry told NPR.

"There's things that are like fingernails on the chalkboard to people of faith. That's not who we are; that's not a 'fruit of the Spirit'; that's not leading with humility," said another person familiar with the talks.

Trump has denied the affair and any knowledge of his lawyer Michael Cohen's payment to Daniels, whose lawyer is seeking to depose the president over claims he defamed Daniels by denying it.

One source working to set up the meeting with the White House told NPR that it sprung from concerns about Republicans' performance heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in September 2017. © Evan Vucci Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in September 2017.

"It is a concern of ours that 2018 could be very detrimental to some of the other issues that we hold dear," the source said.

The faith leaders hope to find a way to galvanize right-leaning support heading into fall, when Trump will not be on the ballot but his agenda will face a test as voters decide whether to protect GOP majorities in both houses of Congress.

"Let's reconvene," one NPR source said, "and let's see what we can do to encourage enthusiasm — beyond Trump, so to speak."

Recent polls suggest Democrats could hold as much as a 10-point lead over generic Republican opponents heading into fall, while a plurality of voters said they also want to see Democrats retake the Senate.

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