A senior Fox News presenter has blasted American evangelical Christians for backing Donald Trump despite speculation about the president's personal life including the revelation that the Trump's personal lawyer made a six-figure payment to a pornography actress.
In an article titled 'Evangelicals sell their souls for Trump' Juan Williams, a contributor to the right-wing news channel since 1997, said of the porn star revelations: 'When it comes to the Stormy Daniels story, it is hard for me to understand the silence from evangelical Christians.'
The presenter said that evangelicals 'don't care about the word of God when it comes to Trump' and pointed out that if the same story had come out about Barack Obama evangelicals would have condemned the former president as a non-Christian.
Referring to the news that Michael D Cohen, the president's lawyer, said he personally paid $130,000 to Daniels, Williams wrote: 'Let it sink in: It is now confirmed that the president's personal lawyer paid a porn star for her silence...The money changed hands just before the 2016 election to allegedly stop her from talking about a sexual affair with candidate Trump that took place in 2006, just after Trump's wife had a baby. There is no longer any way to deny the fact of the payment and the nature of the tawdry story.'
Williams, a columnist for various national US newspapers and the author of a book on the civil rights movement, went on to highlight a second case of alleged adultery from Trump. 'Also, there is no way to deny a former Playboy playmate's telling of another extramarital affair with the president in 2006 and 2007,' Williams wrote.
'The New Yorker magazine has now confirmed that the woman in question, Karen McDougal, wrote an account of the relationship. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that she was paid for her story by the National Enquirer's publisher, a Trump friend, and the tabloid sat on the story, presumably to protect Trump.'
He went on: 'Yes, the injunction to let he who is without sin cast the first stone is an important one. But it now seems clear that evangelical Christians, who hold up biblical edicts on lying, cheating and adultery, don't care about the word of God when it comes to Trump.'
Williams pointed to a January poll for The Washington Post and ABC News which 'found 68 per cent of white evangelical Protestants approve of Trump's job performance — a figure that is nearly double that of the population as a whole and that is higher than any other religious or demographic group'.
And he added: 'Let's not forget that according to exit polls, 80 per cent of white, born-again evangelical Christians supported Trump in the last election. Hillary Clinton only received 16 percent support. Voters from this demographic cast 26 percent of all votes for president in 2016.
'For a group that regularly preaches about the "sanctity of marriage" and inveighs against the evils of divorce, it was a major political puzzle to me when evangelicals first backed the thrice-married, adulterous Trump over Hillary Clinton...And now the puzzling behavior of evangelicals is pushed to the limit by their support for Trump despite the slimy facts of the Stormy Daniels story.
Williams questioned what would have happened had Obama been exposed in the same way. 'Imagine for one moment if President Obama's personal lawyer had paid six figures in hush money to a porn star.
'The same evangelicals would have condemned him as not being Christian and possibly believing in Muslim law that allows multiple wives. They would have said he was a bad example to the nation's youth.'
In a reference to the former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, Williams wrote: 'Imagine if Obama had endorsed a candidate despite credible allegations that he sexually molested young girls.'
Instead, 'Again, evangelicals continued to support Trump,' Williams wrote. 'Hypocrisy that deep can't be excused by Trump's convenient switch from supporting abortion rights to opposing abortion. What we are seeing is a hollow core in evangelical faith as practiced by its leaders.'
Williams concluded the article, which first appeared on The Hill, by writing: 'When it comes to Trump, the nation's political, social and historical norms do not matter anymore. Now the acid of the Trump presidency is eating away at the integrity of leading evangelists and their supporters. God help us.'