Urging Christians to break from Trump, the ad states that they “don’t need Trump to save them. The truth is that Trump needs Christians to save his flailing campaign.”
That sharp critique of Trump’s standing with Christian voters comes as the President looks to evangelicals in particular to help him muscle to re-election over Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
While Biden’s campaign is mounting a well-organised faith outreach effort, that work largely focuses on an affirmative case for the former vice-president rather than the overtly anti-Trump case that the new PAC is making.
Among the PAC’s advisory council members are Michael Wear, a former faith adviser in Obama’s administration and re-election campaign, and Autumn Vandehei, a former aide to one-time Republican legislator Tom DeLay of Texas.
Wear said in an interview that Trump has “in a predatory way attached himself to Christians”, asserting that the faith would be “better off” without the President.
“Trump eked out 2016 with unprecedented support from white evangelicals and, important to note, a really strong showing among Catholics. We’re going after all of it,” Wear said. “We think Christian support is on the table in this election.”
Trump and his re-election campaign continue to lean heavily on pitches to Christian voters, with the President asserting the baseless claim that Biden and Democrats are hostile to religion.
Republicans are also appealing to voters of faith by claiming that Democrats have unfairly criticised Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her Catholicism, although no Democratic senator has yet raised the issue during Barrett’s confirmation hearings.
Trump’s faith adviser and personal pastor, Paula White, is set to appear in the battleground state of Ohio on Tuesday at an event for the campaign’s evangelical outreach project.
Whether Biden backers’ bid to peel away evangelical support from Trump is making headway remains to be seen. A survey from the nonpartisan Pew Research Centre taken after Trump’s contentious church photo op found that 72 per cent of white evangelicals approved of his handling of the job, a level that has remained largely consistent over his presidency.
But the new PAC sees room for a wide-ranging connection with Christian voters beyond Trump’s white evangelical base. Wear said the project hopes “to reach and appeal to a diverse coalition of Christians … just as we anticipate a diverse coalition of Christians will oppose Donald Trump’s re-election.”
The PAC’s advisory council also includes Carolyn Y. Woo, the retired president and chief executive of the faith-based humanitarian group Catholic Relief Services, and the Reverend Alvin Love, pastor at Lilydale First Baptist Church-Chicago and chairman of faith-based initiatives at the National Baptist Convention.