Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who has been outspoken about his Christian faith, lamented President Donald Trump is no role model for young people.
He made the admission during a wide-ranging interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday alongside fellow Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who is also a believer. Lankford criticized Trump for the way he tweets and for the language he uses.
“I don’t like the way that he tweets, some of the things that he says, his word choices at times are not my word choices,” said the conservative legislator. “He comes across with more New York City swagger than I do from the Midwest and definitely not the way that I’m raising my kids.”
Lankford was quick to admit there are areas where he and Trump agree — such as with abortion and religious liberty policies — noting they work together when possible. For example, the Republican said, Trump has been “tenaciously pro-life” during his tenure in the White House. He did, though, say the president’s personal character has, at times, presented him with a “grand challenge.”
“I wish he was more of a role model,” he said.
Trump has, though, nevertheless been a strong advocate for religious Americans, according to Lankford, who said his election in 2016 has presented something of a “conundrum” for Christians in this present time.
“So, for people of faith, it’s a bit of a conundrum at times, that I look at some of the moral decisions that he’s made and go, ‘I disagree with that,’” he said. “But he’s also been very, very protective of areas like life, and very protective of areas of religious liberty to be able to allow people to be able to live their faith out. And at the end of the day, what we’re really looking for in an administration is folks that allow us to be able to live our principles.”
Lankford’s answers led CBS anchor Margaret Brennan to ask the lawmaker if it’s difficult for him to be a Christian politician — particularly a conservative one — in the Trump era. He told her it has not been difficult for him “because my first responsibility is for myself and for my family — that we’re going to live that out.”
Brennan then asked Lankford if he finds it difficult to respond to journalists’ questions about Trump’s comments and behavior. The senator offered a similar response once again, saying he’s not the president’s spokesperson but is instead responsible for himself, his team, and his family.
“I don’t get to pick the people that I work with,” he explained. ‘The American people pick the people that I work with, and then my responsibility is to be able to get things done in that environment that I think drive home a set of values and a set of policies that help the nation long-term.”