CLEVELAND, Ohio —“Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party. I will be voting for Donald Trump in November, and I will urge my fellow Americans to do the same,” former major Ted Cruz supporter Tony Perkins declared to the assembled delegates at the Republican National Convention Thursday night.
In addition to being a delegate from Louisiana, Perkins is also president of both the Family Research Council and the Council for National Policy, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Washington Watch, carried on 300 stations nationwide, and—most relevant here—someone who was a major national supporter of Ted Cruz during the primaries.
Noting that the theme of the final night of the convention is “Making America One Again,” Perkins wanted to emphasize that now is the time for all Republicans—including all conservatives—to unite behind Donald Trump and Mike Pence, presenting a unified message to the American people that it is vitally important for the future of America that Trump—not Clinton—becomes the 45th president of the United States.
Giving his remarks after leading the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance, Perkins noted that the words “one Nation under God” were added to the Pledge in 1954, when Americans were just beginning to grapple with the threat of annihilation in a thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union.
President Dwight Eisenhower—who was not a particularly religious president—proposed that Congress pass legislation to add those four words because Eisenhower “knew where to place America’s trust,” Perkins explained.
“America is under as great of an existential threat today as the nation was in 1954,” Perkins added, making it appropriate to renew acknowledging our reliance upon God.
The clergyman who inspired Eisenhower to call for that change to the Pledge—Rev. George Docherty—was in turn inspired by America’s first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Perkins told the crowd that in Lincoln’s historic Gettysburg Address in 1863:
Speaking to a divided nation at Gettysburg, Lincoln said, “Under God, this people shall know a new birth of freedom.” A lot has changed since then, but the source of America’s hope and future has not. It is found in the same place today as it was in 1863 and 1954—under God.
Across America in 2016, Perkins continued:
Our freedom to appeal to—and unite under—God has been under steady assault. This First Freedom was understood by our Founding Fathers to serve as the foundation for all our other freedoms. This is why we must stop those in our government and on our courts who have either in principle or in practice attempted to remove these two words, “under God,” and all that they mean, from public life here in America.
With regards to the Republican nominee for president, Perkins then said, “From his judicial nominees, to his running mate, to the party platform and the policies it promotes, Donald Trump has committed to upholding and protecting this First Freedom—and therefore our ability as citizens to unite our nation once again under God.”
Perkins also exclusively told Breitbart News, “As important as the next four years are, this election isn’t just about those four years. It’s about the Supreme Court, which makes November’s election about the next forty years. We must elect Trump, and defeat Clinton.”
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.