NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd was definitely intending to end his interview Sunday with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, with a “gotcha” question.
Manafort wasn’t playing. But, is it grounds to suddenly discredit the report last week from Dr. James Dobson that he was told the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting had recently accepted salvation through Christ?
Todd stumbled his way through the question, clearly not sure what term to use to describe a born-again Christian. But, when he asked what Trump’s “religious affiliation is now,” Manafort offered very little.
“I’m not gonna speak to Donald Trump and his embrace of religion. You have to talk to him about that,” he said. “I will say however that the evangelical leaders that have been a part of the Christian movement in the United States came together last week and showed overwhelming support for Mr. Trump and frankly in my 40 years of politics I’ve never seen such a broad base of support within that community for one candidate.”
Todd, stumbling again with a follow-up question, tried to press the issue with Manafort, asking, “Is Dr. James Dobson right or wrong?” Again, the veteran political operative wouldn’t even nibble.
“Again, you have to talk with Mr. Trump about his embrace of Christianity. That’s not for me to speak to,” he said. “What I can speak to is that Christians across this country and the leadership of the evangelical movement are broadly united for Mr. Trump and his campaign.”