- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2020

A national leader for Hispanic Protestant Christians offered his full-throated support for President Trump and chided the Democratic Party for abandoning the moderation of the Obama years, as the president was set to speak at a Hispanic megachurch in Miami to mobilize evangelicals for his reelection campaign.

“The unprecedented hard left turn by the Democratic Party, abandoning the Obama strategy of 2008, will prompt more Latino evangelicals to support President Trump in 2020,” the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said Friday in a statement, hours before Mr. Trump was scheduled to speak.

The Rev. Rodriguez, an Assemblies of God minister and son of Puerto Rican parents, served in the Obama White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships initiative and has advocated for immigration reform. However, he says the Democratic Party’s platform has become too radical for many socially moderate and conservative Hispanics.

“I do not foresee Latino evangelicals sacrificing core values by supporting an agenda or an ideology that affirms abortion in the third trimester (and beyond), attacks religious liberty and espouses a socialistic worldview that destroyed Venezuela and Cuba and serves as the primary conduit for economic and civil rights oppression in Latin America,” the Rev. Rodriguez said. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference claims 40,000 member churches across the U.S. and Latin America.

Exit polls from the 2016 presidential election suggest Mr. Trump may have won nearly 30% of the Hispanic electorate, a slight bump from the 27% won by the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Mr. Trump is set to speak Friday afternoon at his first campaign event of 2020 at the King Jesus International Ministry, whose congregation is led by senior pastor Guillermo Maldonado, a minister who is a key Trump supporter.

• Christopher Vondracek can be reached at cvondracek@washingtontimes.com.

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