He also reiterated the claim he “totally obliterated” the Johnson Amendment, a section of the U.S. tax code that bars religious groups and other nonprofits from endorsing candidates. (Trump’s 2017 executive order sought to hinder its enforcement but did not eliminate the statute.)
Trump then fielded questions from leaders of various faith organizations — most of which are focused on politics — including Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes; Brian Burch, head of CatholicVote.org; Dave Kubal, head of Intercessors for America; Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values; and Dave Donaldson, co-founder of CityServe.
In answering their questions, Trump criticized Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling it “a mad rush” and bemoaning the Taliban’s seizure of U.S. military equipment.
Trump referenced hypothetical future scenarios “if we’re able to get back in,” while repeating the widely discredited claim the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. In discussing the Catholic vote, he acknowledged he had lost ground with the bloc in his four years in office.
“I’m a little bit surprised that we didn’t do better with the Catholic vote,” Trump said. “I think now they would give us a vote. I think we got about 50% of the vote. And yet, we did a lot for the Catholic vote. So we’ll have to talk to them. We’re gonna have to meet with the Catholics.”
According to a recent election analysis published by Pew Research, Trump drew support from 50% of Catholics overall in 2020, a dip of 2 percentage points from 2016 (Biden took 49%, up from the 44% Democratic contender Hillary Clinton claimed in 2016).
The shift was more dramatic among white Catholics, a key constituency in battleground Rust Belt states: Trump’s share of that vote dropped from 64% to 57% between 2016 and 2020, whereas Biden won 42% — an 11-percentage-point improvement over Clinton in 2016.
The former president expressed frustration with the lack of support from Jewish voters, despite his administration’s support of Israel. “Look what I did with the embassy in Jerusalem and what I did with so many other things. … Israel has never had a better friend, and yet I got 25% of the vote,” Trump said. “I think they have to get together. There has to be a little bit more unity with the religious groups all represented on this call.”
Polls of Jewish voters during the 2020 election varied, with a Republican Jewish Coalition survey finding 30% support for Trump and a separate poll conducted by liberal group J Street reporting just 21%.