A number of senior officials in the Trump administration will be in attendance at a major gathering this week of powerful lobby group Christians United for Israel (CUFI), reported Haaretz.
According to the paper, the conference will feature speeches by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as by Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, his special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and his Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
The annual summit, held in Washington D.C., will take place today and tomorrow, attracting thousands of evangelical Christians from across the US.
Other speakers at the event include Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Although CUFI describes itself as a bipartisan organisation, no Democratic senators are scheduled to speak.
According to Haaretz, the decision to send senior administration officials to the CUFI gathering is “no coincidence”, since evangelicals “are a key voting bloc for Trump and the Republicans”.
“Around 80 per cent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, helping him secure victories in several swing states”, the paper stated. “The consensus among U.S. political analysts is that the president will need similar or greater support among evangelicals to win a second term next year”.
When the Trump administration relocated the US embassy to Jerusalem, CUFI founder Texas pastor John Hagee gave a speech at the opening ceremony, declaring: “there has never been a more pro-Israeli president than Donald Trump”.
The paper added that for Trump, “the support of the overwhelming majority of white evangelicals – those who voted for him in 2016 and who love his Israel policies – is crucial”. According to recent reports, the president’s re-election campaign will seek to mobilise even more evangelical voters.