Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway called for Hillary Clinton to apologize for her senior staff’s criticism of Catholics, seen in a new email release from WikiLeaks, and to fire those involved during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
“The hostility to religious liberty and the beliefs that we hold as Catholics should not go unnoticed or unpunished,” Conway stated. “We call on Hillary Clinton to apologize and to fire the staff who have engaged in this vicious anti-Catholic bigotry. All of this shows who these people are at the core.”
Conway’s statements come after WikiLeaks revealed emails from Clinton’s director of communications Jennifer Palmieri and the Center for American Progress’s John Halpin, who mocked conservative Christians and Catholics over email.
“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith,” Halpin wrote in the thread’s initial email, in reference to conservative figures’ Catholicism. Palmieri suggested that many prominent right-wing Catholics join the church out of social considerations. “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
Palmieri on Wednesday did not deny writing the email in question but told reporters that she “didn’t recognize it.”
Asked if she didn't write the email, Palmieri says, "I said didn’t recognize it," but adds that they won't authenticate specific emails.
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) October 12, 2016
Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, also joined the call, blasting Clinton’s “bigoted, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic staff.”
“Now we know what Hillary meant by ‘deplorables’ — it was people of faith,” Gingrich reacted to the email.
He said that this should raise concerns to voters about the Supreme Court justices Clinton would appoint, suggesting she would select the “most anti-religious liberty” and “anti-free speech” justices.
Matt Schlapp, who serves as a member of Trump’s Catholic advisory group, echoed Conway’s call to punish those involved in the anti-Catholic rhetoric.
“We’ve all watched this campaign and the public discourse…now we know when the cameras are off and the doors are closed what senior campaign officials think about us. They think we’re backwards,” Schlapp charged, referencing the email mocking baptism. “To me, it demonstrates who the real bigots are in this race.”
“This is an example that she and her campaign are as low as a snakes belly,” he added. “She will have no moral authority on the issue of prejudice in our society” if Clinton doesn’t properly address the situation and her involved staff.