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From Consortium News
President Donald Trump beginning his nomination acceptance speech, Aug. 27, 2020.
(Image by (C-Span screengrab)) Details DMCA
President Donald Trump's appearance in Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 21 before the Council for National Policy (CNP), a hyper-secretive Christian Right powerhouse that helps set the movement's agenda, offered an hour-long preview of the stem-winding speech he would deliver several nights later on a balcony in front of the White House to the Republican National Convention.
Joined by his acting and still-unconfirmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the longtime corporate lobbyist who guided federal troops against anti-racism protesters, the president proclaimed, "China very much wants Joe Biden to win."
Next, Trump inspired gales of applause by boasting, "I could run in Israel, and I think they set up probably a 98 percent approval rating in Israel... And you know who appreciates it the most are the evangelical Christians."
The president earned more cheers when he previewed a line he deployed a few nights later at the RNC: "Nobody has done more for the black community or the Hispanic community than we have. Nobody. Nobody. I guess, maybe Lincoln. Questionable."
Trump's recent event with the CNP was his second appearance before the group. The first encounter came during an October 2015 CNP forum, as candidate Trump was surging ahead of his Republican primary rivals and emerging as the Christian Right's foul-mouthed Chosen One.
Several CNP members went on to serve in Trump's White House, including Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. But this appearance was different.
This time, in contrast to other Republican presidential hopefuls who had addressed the CNP, the White House videotaped Trump's speech and proudly disseminated it online. Conspicuously missing from the footage, however, were any clear images of the audibly enthused crowd.
That is because the CNP's membership is a carefully guarded secret; its meetings are private -- off limits to the public and the press -- and even the location of the gatherings is carefully protected.
Literature distributed to members at the entrance of meetings instructed attendees not to disclose the names of fellow members and forbade them from distributing the membership list to outsiders in order "to maintain the quality of membership communications."