(AP)—Evangelicals still peeved over Pence’s religious freedom act flip.
“It was the worst we’ve ever been stabbed in the back by a Republican,” says conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace.
Donald Trump’s new running mate is a born-again evangelical Christian, he’s fiercely opposed to abortion rights and he’s a staunch defender of Israel.
But that’s not enough for some evangelicals and other conservatives plugged into that community—especially those previously backing Ted Cruz—who haven’t forgiven Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for his backtracking on a religious freedom measure in his state. Resentment over his waffling on a bill that was important to social conservatives has dampened enthusiasm in some quarters for Trump’s running mate, who Trump’s allies had hoped would help improve relationships with evangelicals skeptical of Trump’s social conservative bona fides.
In 2015, Pence initially signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. He then backpedaled on language that critics feared could be discriminatory against gay people, but that some evangelicals felt was essential to defending religious freedom.