A church pastor serving on Trump's Evangelical Executive Advisory Council condemned the Republican presidential candidate as "lecherous and worthless" the day after fresh scandal rocked Trump's campaign.
The release on Friday of a video tape from 2005, in which Trump can be heard openly speaking about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman, prompted James Macdonald – senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows – to strongly criticise the Republican nominee.
In an email sent on Saturday to several other members of the evangelical council, the Trump campaign liaison and others who have opposed Trump's bid for the White House, Macdonald said: "Mr. Trump's comments released yesterday – though 10 years ago (he was 60) – are not just sophomoric or locker room banter. 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 published with permission by Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. Stetzer was asked to be on Trump's advisory council, but declined – he says, in part because of the perception that to do so would be a "tacit endorsement".
Members of the board do not have to officially endorse Trump.
Macdonald urged Trump to repent, and said he could no longer offer his time to serve on the council "without an obvious 'change of heart and direction'" from the candidate.
"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? I have spent my life helping men get free from such disgusting commentary on women – even writing my doctoral dissertation on self-disclosure of sin among men. I cannot and will not offer help to a man who believes this kind of talk a minor error," Macdonald said.
"No more defending Mr. Trump as simply foolish or loose lipped. Please pass this on to whomever you deem best."
Macdonald is not the only evangelical to condemn Trump in the wake of the controversy, though some have remained loyal.
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told WDRB on Monday that though evangelical Christians have typically voted Republican in the past, Trump does not represent the conservative values they hold dear.
"With the candidacy of Donald Trump, the character issue just looms massive over this entire equation," he said.
Of the video tape, Mohler added: "It didn't look like just someone who was talking locker room talk. It looked like someone who was premeditating being a sexual predator."
Southern Baptist ethicist and theologian Wayne Grudem announced on Sunday that he had reversed his support of Trump after having previously argued that voting for the Republican candidate was a "morally good choice".
"I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election," Grudem said over the weekend.
"There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election."