President Donald Trump told a gathering of evangelicals in Washington that terrorism is the greatest global threat to religious freedoms.
Trump spoke at the “Celebrate Freedom Rally” event sponsored by conservative Christian groups Saturday night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The president said terrorism was one of the most dire threats to religious freedom in the world, and said Americans “cannot allow terrorism and extremism to spread in our country, or to find sanctuary on our shores.”
Speaking three days before the July Fourth U.S. holiday, Trump also vowed to keep his campaign promise to take care of America’s veterans.
Earlier Saturday, the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, an evangelical megachurch that sponsored the event, said hundreds of veterans from the Washington area would attend the event, including wounded veterans from Walter Reed Medical Center.
Church pastor Robert Jeffress, a staunch supporter of the president, hosts some television and radio programs that are accessible outside the U.S.
Salem Media Group, a provider of radio broadcasts, internet content, magazines and books with conservative Christian values, also was a sponsor of the rally.
Trump has enjoyed strong support from the evangelical community. Exit polling data from last year’s presidential election shows Trump captured 81 percent of the white, born-again/evangelical Christian vote, compared to only 16 percent who voted for Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Trump, who is spending most of the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, flew to Washington briefly Saturday to deliver his speech, then returned to Bedminster.