Conservative evangelical leader: Trump gets a ‘mulligan’ on his behavior

Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council, contended Tuesday that the evangelical community has given President Donald Trump a “mulligan” when it comes to his personal behavior.

“Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over. They said we’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.” Perkins said in a interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Perkins’ remarks come after a Wall Street Journal report that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate.

CNN has not independently confirmed The Wall Street Journal’s reporting, and in response to the initial Wall Street Journal report about the affair, Cohen said the rumors had circulated since 2011 and that Trump “once again vehemently denies any such occurrence.”

Family Research Council is known for pushing socially conservative family values. One of the foundations of the organization, according to its website, is to promote marriage and family. “Family Research Council champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society,” according to the site. “Properly understood, ‘families’ are formed only by ties of blood, marriage, or adoption, and ‘marriage’ is a union of one man and one woman.”

Perkins said it is the relationship Trump has built with evangelicals, as well as his “constitutionally conservative” policies including appointing judges who oppose abortion, that garners the support.

However, Perkins noted that he doesn’t think that evangelical support is “unconditional.”

“That support is not unconditional. If the president for some reason stopped keeping campaign promises and then engaged in that behavior now, the support’s gone,” he said.

Perkins’ use of golf terminology might be familiar to the President, who has indulged frequently in his love of golf during his time in office, and is said to take “one free mulligan after another” on the golf course, according to former ESPN columnist Rick Reilly.