Donald Trump asks those who aren't "Christian conservatives" to raise their hands at rally

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised eyebrows Wednesday afternoon when he asked people who weren't "Christian conservatives" to identify themselves at an Iowa rally — a scene which may further fuel perceptions Trump is hostile to religious and cultural minorities.

Speaking in Council Bluffs, Trump boasted of his "tremendous support from the evangelicals" in Iowa, a swing state where he modestly leads Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in most recent polls.

"Raise your hand, Christian conservatives, everybody," Trump said. "Raise your hand if you're not a Christian conservative. I want to see this. That's — oh, there's a couple people, that's all right. I think we should keep them. Should we keep them in the room, yes? I think so."

Though he's never evinced strong religiosity during his decades in the limelight, the thrice-married Manhattan billionaire crushes Clinton among white evangelicals, long a core GOP constituency.

But while his stances on issues like abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the right of pastors to endorse politics on the pulpit appeal to those voters, he has alienated others with his proposals to ban Muslim immigration into the United States and his campaign's use of anti-Semitic imagery to attack Clinton. 

Wednesday's remarks were reminiscent of his request at a Florida rally in March that voters raise their right hands to pledge their loyalty to his campaign — a moment that drew comparisons to Nazi political rallies.

Though Trump has pulled closer to Clinton in the final stretch of the presidential race, he continues to confront widespread perceptions that he's bigoted against members of out-groups, with one recent poll showing that 51% of registered voters consider Trump a racist and a Washington Post survey finding that 60% of Americans view him as "biased against women and minorities."

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Luke Brinker

Luke Brinker is Mic's politics editor. He is based in New York and can be reached at luke@mic.com.

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