According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), President Donald Trump spoke to a hate group last week — and he was a hit. The Family Research Council, which is on the SPLC hate group list, invited the 45th president to speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual socially conservative conference. This proved to be a political layup for Trump, the first sitting president to speak at the conference, amidst the turmoil surrounding his administration.
A key focal point to the address was the so-called war on Christmas. Trump vowed that, under his lead, department stores across the country will return to acknowledging the Christmas holiday.
"You go into a department store. When was the last time you saw 'Merry Christmas?' You don't see it anymore," Trump announced. "They want to be politically correct. If I'm president, you will see 'Merry Christmas' in department stores, believe me, believe me."
While the majority of Americans do celebrate Christmas, many do not take holiday greetings as personally as Trump evidently does. According to Pew Research Center, "46% of Americans say it doesn't matter how stores greet their customers over the holidays."
Regardless, Trump went further into the religious debate by claiming that Judeo-Christian values are under attack.
"America is a nation of believers and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer," Trump said.
A little under a quarter of the American population identifies as religiously unaffiliated, according to Pew, with the percentage of those who do not align with a specific faith on the rise.
When Trump was done bashing department stores, he pivoted to bashing his friends on Capitol Hill. He used the crowd to push for action on replacing the Affordable Care Act. This comes on the heels of his decision to roll back an Obamacare requirement to provide birth control as part of health insurance programs.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, applauded that decision, saying that Trump is committed to "undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom."
Trump's statements on Christmas and birth control issues reiterated his theme, adding, "We don't worship government; we worship God."