Trump’s 2011 conversion to social conservatism immediately caught the attention of evangelical powerbroker Ralph Reed, and the two became fast friends. They spoke frequently that year as Trump flirted with a presidential bid, and according to two sources close to the businessman, Reed privately agreed to run Trump’s campaign if he decided to enter the 2012 race. The alliance would have made for a head-scratching headline if it had ever come to fruition, and likely would have drawn accusations of opportunism from some of Reed’s Christian cohorts.
Reed declined to comment specifically on his private conversations with Trump. But he said he sees no reason now for evangelicals to withhold their support for the thrice-married GOP nominee.
“Evangelical voters are far more forgiving and ready to extend mercy to others than the predominant cultural stereotype,” Reed said, adding, “On the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, religious freedom, support for Israel, the appointment of judicial conservatives to the Supreme Court and other federal courts, and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, Donald Trump shares the public policy views of evangelical voters, and they believe his commitment to these issues is genuine.”
There are some Georgia politicos who still believe that if GOP operative Ralph Reed was able to hold off Casey Cagle in the 2006 race for lieutenant governor, he might be Georgia’s governor by now.