President Donald Trump on Friday pledged to an adoring crowd of evangelicals his commitment to religious liberty, as he declared that his administration was "substantially ahead of schedule" in delivering on campaign promises.
President Trump told values voters at the event that enemies fear the United States because the American people never give up. The founders invoked "our creator" four times in the declaration of independence, he said. "How times have changed".
Those words weren't in direct reference to LGBT issues, but could apply to any number of actions in the Trump administration reversing LGBT achievements under Obama.
"I appointed and confirmed a Supreme Court Justice in the mold of the late great Justice Antonin Scalia, the newest member of the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch", said Trump.
But Trump also maintained his commitment to "religious freedom", citing his executive order on the issue in May that resulted subsequent guidance from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But there was no hesitation among the crowd in its fervor for Trump, as he threw out plenty of red meat and hit many religious themes, despite showing an unfamiliarity with Scripture in the past. "And above all else, we know this, in America we don't worship government, we worship God", said Trump. You see it every day.
Earlier in the speech, he paid tribute to victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, fires in California and hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The president also said he was "stopping cold" attacks on Judeo-Christian values.
"We love our families".
Trump concluded, "We will defeat every evil, overcome every threat, and meet every single challenge".
President Trump brought back several of his favorite talking points during his speech before the Value Voters Summit on Friday, not the least of which was that the War on Christmas is officially over.
Speaking to the gathering in September of a year ago, Trump addressed what had been a lingering question during the GOP primaries about his ability to reach and win over the party's evangelical bloc - and the then-candidate said that their loyalty to him would be reciprocated.
Friday marks the second time that Trump has addressed the VVS, doing so for the first time a year ago as the Republican nominee for president. The event is sponsored by the Family Research Council.
The President ended the historical address with a call for unity and praise for the resilience and goodness of the American people.
Trump stressed his move to weaken the Johnson Amendment, which limited political activity or endorsements by religious groups that received tax exemptions, as well as his administration's effort to expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.