The Honorable Tom DeLay, a former House Republican leader with a strong social conservative record and a legacy of party loyalty, was among the nearly 1,000 evangelicals who traveled to New York yesterday to meet with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
While a strong and outspoken group of #NeverTrump evangelicals remain, the New York meeting had the feel of a campaign rally, and press reports portrayed evangelicals as coalescing around Trump, despite certain lingering reservations.
The National Review’s Tim Alberta interviewed DeLay June 21. Excerpt:
TIM ALBERTA: What surprised you about today’s meeting with Donald Trump?
TOM DELAY: I don’t understand why [Mike] Huckabee was the moderator. Huckabee sold out for Trump. This was supposed to be a meeting of people who had real concerns. I love Mike Huckabee, but I don’t think it was appropriate to have him as the moderator in this particular setting. He spent half the time — half of our time — cheerleading for Trump.
DeLay wasn’t fooled by the scripted nature of the Q & A.
ALBERTA: What were the questions like?
DELAY: They were softballs.
ALBERTA: So which things, specifically, were encouraging to you?
DELAY: It was obvious he was listening, that he has been listening to people who are Christians, conservatives, constitutionalists. He isn’t there yet. He doesn’t know anything about the Constitution. He doesn’t know anything. But he is — I guess the best I can say is he’s growing.
This sounds to me like someone who knows in his heart Trump is an embarrassment to the party and to the nation, but whose lifelong partisanship and rhetoric leaves no other option than to support Trump – eventually.
One wonders what Trump might do or say that would finally tip someone like Tom DeLay to definitively support or oppose him.