LACONIA, New Hampshire (LifeSiteNews) — Former U.S. President Donald Trump this week thanked conservative Catholic political advocacy group CatholicVote for its endorsement, going on to ask why any Catholic would “vote for a Democrat.”
CatholicVote president Brian Burch announced Monday that his organization, which seeks to “inspire every Catholic in America to live out the truths of our faith in public life” through conservative and pro-life advocacy, was backing the former president.
“I know many Catholics are divided over whether Trump is the best candidate to defeat Biden,” Burch wrote. “Those concerns will persist no matter what we say and do. But that’s also what primaries are for … But the days of indecision are over.”
“The only two candidates that remain are Trump and [Nikki] Haley,” he said. “And the choice is a no-brainer.”
He said Trump isn’t “merely our reluctant choice” but someone who “delivered” during his four years in office.
“We’re proud to lead the way on Catholics for Trump,” he said.
During a Monday campaign event just ahead of the New Hampshire primary, Trump thanked the group for its endorsement.
“We are also very grateful to be endorsed by one of the nation’s largest Catholic advocacy groups, CatholicVote,” he said. “I just want to thank them. They are incredible.”
Trump then pivoted to remarking on the FBI’s surveillance of so-called “radical traditionalist Catholics,” which has sparked outrage and even spurred scrutiny from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Weaponization Committee.
Lawmakers argued the eight-page internal document from the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia office that was released last year by former FBI agent turned whistleblower Kyle Seraphin had “singled out Americans who are pro-life, pro-family, and support the biological basis for sex and gender distinction as potential domestic terrorists.”
“I don’t know what it is with Catholics,” Trump said. “The FBI is going after Catholics.”
As previously reported, the memo laid out criteria to conduct surveillance with the goal of intercepting “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” who have allegedly found common ground with “radical-traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology.” The FBI made a distinction between what it called a “small minority” of “radical-traditionalist Catholics” who might hold “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” views in common with violent extremists compared with other so-called “traditionalist Catholics” who the FBI said “prefer the Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings and traditions, but without the more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric.”
The federal law enforcement agency backpedaled on the memo the day after the leak, saying the document failed to meet its “exacting standards.” A month later, however, Seraphin said the memo was still up on government servers. Moreover, an unredacted version of the memo indicated that FBI intelligence-gathering concerning “RTCs” wasn’t isolated to the Richmond area but extended to Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, as well.
“Why would any Catholic vote for a Democrat?” Trump asked the crowd on Monday. “Any Catholic being harassed? Why would a Catholic — think of it, what they’re doing, I hear stories that are just horrible — why would a Catholic be voting for Biden or a Democrat? Doesn’t make sense. It’s horrible. What they’re doing is horrible.”
Trump’s comments come after the former president, who some outlets are already calling the “presumptive nominee” in the 2024 primary thanks to his consistently strong lead, vowed last month to “end the war on Christians” upon receiving a second term in office.
“Under Crooked Joe Biden, Christians and Americans of faith are being persecuted — and government has been weaponized against religion like never before,” Trump said in December. “And now the Communists, Marxists, and Fascists are going hard after Catholics, even plotting to send spies into Catholic churches.”
He promised to take concrete action to protect Christians from unfair targeting by the federal government.
“When I am back in the White House, never again will your government be used to target Christians and other religious believers,” Trump posted on X.
“Upon taking office, I will create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias to be led by a fully reformed Department of Justice,” he pledged.
READ: Trump promises federal task force to fight anti-Christian persecution and bias
During Trump’s time in office, he made considerable moves on issues of interest to Catholics, especially with regard to the pro-life cause.
As president, he appointed the three conservative Supreme Court justices who were instrumental in overturning Roe v. Wade, and regularly enacted pro-life policies. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, however, Trump has seemingly distanced himself from full-throated support of pro-life cause, continuing to tout his role in the overthrow of Roe even while condemning Florida’s heartbeat bill and repeatedly affirming that he favors abortion ban exceptions (i.e., allowances for abortion in cases of rape, incest, or ostensibly to save the life of the mother). He has also refused to endorse the notion of a federal law banning abortion nationwide.
However, Trump’s position continues to stand in stark contrast to that of the Biden administration, which has condemned the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, pushed for increased access to abortion, and loosened restrictions on chemical abortion drugs.