On Friday, New York Times correspondent and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman appeared on CNN’s “CNN This Morning” and accused former President Donald Trump of playing “a risky game” for tearing into evangelicals who have yet to endorse him. She claims that Trump’s tongue-lashing could push them away because they “have options” other than him, such as former Vice President Mike Pence.
Earlier this week, Trump was speaking with Christian broadcaster and The Water Cooler host David Brody, and scolded evangelical leaders who haven’t endorsed him yet. He declared, “That’s a sign of disloyalty. There’s a great disloyalty in the world of politics and that’s a sign of disloyalty.”
CNN co-anchor Kaitlan Collins asked Haberman, “Maggie, you also new reporting this morning on a conversation we’ve been talking about all week here, which is Trump’s campaign and his relationship with evangelicals who delivered the White House to him in 2016. Now he’s criticizing prominent leaders who aren’t rushing to endorse him.”
Haberman replied, “Yeah. As disloyal. His favorite word, It was also the word that he used for any former officials in his administration who might run against him. We hear him say this all the time. And Nikki Haley was one name I asked him about when I interviewed him for my book and he talked about, you know, disloyalty.”
“Look, it is a risky game that he’s playing. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the investigations into him. I just want to caveat that right off the bat. If there is movement there, it’s going to make it very complicated for evangelical leaders, even if Trump tried staying in the race. But right now he’s the only declared candidate,” she continued.
Haberman added, “And yet, and they are grateful to things he did in office, but they have other options. It was notable that Pastor Robert Jeffress hosted Mike Pence last weekend. Now, Jeffress is still sounding very, very pro-Trump, but the fact that he was willing to offer Pence an audience I think tells you that you are seeing some shift away from Trump. Will it be enough? I don’t know, because we have seen voters, you know, move away from their leaders and toward Trump before. But there is definitely a softening, just as there is in other parts of the Republican Party.”