A megachurch pastor who sits on Donald Trump’s evangelical council denounced the Republican presidential candidate as “lecherous and worthless” over a leaked 2005 video in which Trump boasted about grabbing women.
“Mr. Trump’s comments released yesterday—though 10 years ago (he was 60)—are not just sophomoric or locker room banter,” James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, an Illinois-based evangelical church, wrote in an email Saturday to his fellow members of Trump’s faith council and some opponents of the GOP candidate. “They are truly the kind of misogynistic trash that reveals a man to be lecherous and worthless—not the guy who gets politely ignored, but the guy who gets a punch in the head from worthy men who hear him talk that way about women.”
The email was first flagged by The Washington Post and published on a blog by Ed Stetzer, a professor of evangelism at Wheaton College.
Despite this caustic language, MacDonald did not abandon support for Trump outright. Instead, he said he’s putting the campaign “on notice” pending the release of another damning tape and will no longer speak out on Trump’s behalf without a “change of heart and direction.”
“If Mr. Trump isn’t seeking our counsel now—1) to be repentant 2) on how to portray that repentance, then the idea of a faith council (which has deteriorated into influence brokering anyway) is really kind of a joke right?” MacDonald wrote.
Trump has done little to seek repentance for the tape published Friday by the Washington Post, in which he describes being able to get away with doing “anything” to women without their consent because of his celebrity status. He and his surrogates have dismissed the conversation as “locker room talk” and pivoted to describing Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions.
The tape has fractured the congressional GOP and Trump’s evangelical supporters. Prominent evangelicals including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell Jr. are standing by him, but the Post reported that the editorial board of Christianity Today and theologian Wayne Grudem have condemned Trump’s comments.