Pollster and author George Barna recently revealed that he believes a key decision by President Donald Trump to engage evangelicals and American Christians during the 2016 campaign served as a deeply defining “turning point” in the election.
Barna, who details his theory in the new book, “The Day Christians Changed America,” told “The Lucas Miles Podcast” that he works with Christian leaders from all over the U.S. and that he was receiving quite a bit of feedback about both Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the months leading up to the candidates’ electoral showdown.
“What we were hearing a lot of during the first five months of 2016 … most of these leaders didn’t like either of these major party candidates,” he said. “We had big numbers of people who were planning not to vote, planning not to participate in any way.”
Listen to what Barna believes helped change many Christians’ minds below:
So, Barna and others came together to organize an effort to get both Trump and Clinton to meet separately with conservative pastors — and he said that the candidates’ responses were likely a major “turning point” in the election.
Trump agreed to a 45-minute meeting, but Clinton reportedly had a starkly different reaction.
“We tried with Mrs. Clinton,” he said. “She wanted nothing to do with it.”
In the end, more than 1,000 Christian leaders flocked to New York City to meet with Trump, many of them remaining quite skeptical of what he’d have to offer and who he was as a candidate. While Barna joked that Trump initially “looked like he had just eaten a lemon” and was also likely skeptical of how he would be received, the meeting went well and extended for over two hours.
“He began to understand how we think and it intrigued him,” Barna said.
Hear more of Barna’s comments below:
In the end, the meeting had a profound impact on those who attended — many of them faith leaders who previously had no interest in engaging Trump or Clinton.
“One of the things that I found … was they went in undecided, they came out undecided,” Barna said of the meeting. “But within 4 to 6 weeks most of them had decided: he’s the man.”