Several evangelical advisors are supporting President Trump’s legal right to fight over the contested results of the 2020 presidential election.
Ralph Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Religion News Service that Trump has the right to pursue necessary litigation and call for vote recounts.
“As a veteran of the 2000 Florida recount, I take the integrity of elections and the rule of law very seriously,” explained Reed. “Donald Trump’s campaign is entirely within its rights to pursue legal challenges and recounts where appropriate. This election will be over when those recounts are complete and those legal challenges are resolved—and not until.”
On Monday, Evangelist Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Association tweeted that it is ultimately up to the courts to “determine who wins the presidency.”
While he did not claim the existence of potential voter fraud, as Trump and his campaign have been doing recently, Graham told RNS on Wednesday that Americans should be patient as some states continue to count votes and lawsuits are heard in court.
He asserted that the winner of the presidential election will be finalized by the electoral college next month.
“He has a case,” Graham said. “That doesn't mean the outcome will change. Our forefathers, when they created the Constitution, realized the election might be contested. That's why the certification isn't until a month or so later. It gives time for disputes to be worked out.”
“He shouldn’t concede until the process is finished,” he continued.
As the courts determine who wins the presidency, there is another key race that is extremely important to the future governance of our nation. January 5 there will be a runoff in Georgia that could change the make-up of the Senate. https://t.co/mgPmm3CLu7— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) November 9, 2020
Tony Perkins, president of The Family Research Council, echoed Graham's sentiments, noting that the election is not over until all legal steps in the presidential election process are completed.
“There are a number of steps—under the Constitution, federal, and state law—that still need to occur in the presidential election process,” he wrote on Tuesday.
The Rev. Tony Suarez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also argued that Trump has “every right” to “involve the courts as necessary.”
There are a number of steps—under the Constitution, federal, and state law—that still need to occur in the presidential election process.https://t.co/2hcZtw3j4j— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) November 11, 2020
Suarez, however, added the possibility of Joe Biden becoming “our next president” and hopes that, if officially elected, he will listen to evangelicals.
In similar fashion, Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas said that Trump has “every right to contest the election” while telling Christians how to respond to a possible Biden presidency.
One former Trump advisor, however, was fully on board with the projected call that Biden has already won the election.
“Congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris,” Pastor A.R. Benard of Christian Cultural Center tweeted.
Benard resigned from Trump’s evangelical advisory board in 2017 following Trump’s comments over the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In a viral clip this week, controversial televangelist Kenneth Copeland received widespread criticism after he mocked the mainstream media’s call for Biden as the president-elect.
“The media said what? The media said Joe Biden is the president,” Copeland said to this congregation before breaking out into forced, hysterical laughter. His congregation likewise cheered him on.
“He’s going to be president, and Mickey Mouse is going to be king,” he added.
Televangelist Kenneth Copeland laughs at the media for declaring that Joe Biden has won the election and will become president. pic.twitter.com/ARHqmsEbo7— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 8, 2020
Copeland has since apologized for his reaction in a YouTube video on Monday while asserting that he does not hate Biden.
“For those that have the idea that I hate Joe Biden, I do not,” he said in the video. “No, I love him. … And should it be necessary, I apologize if that came across that way.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.