(CNSNews.com) – Vice President Mike Pence defending President Donald Trump’s decision to let stand former President Obama’s executive order on LGBT rights, telling ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolus” on Sunday that Trump “made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration.”
“I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration. I mean, he was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him,” Pence said.
Stephanopolous said Trump’s conservative base is wondering why Obama's executive order is allowed to stand.
“I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot's heart, there's no room for prejudice is part of who this president is, but I also think that the speech that he gave this week at the National Prayer Breakfast, reiterating his commitment to repeal the Johnson Amendment, that's put a chilling effect on free speech in religious institutions around the country,” Pence said.
Stephanopolous asked if Pence thought a new executive order on religious liberty was necessary or if the current law was sufficient.
“Well, the president's made it clear that he wants to take action on the Johnson amendment. Back in the 1950s, the Congress passed a law that essentially threatened the tax-exempt status of churches and synagogues and religious institutions if they were seen to be involved in political expression,” Pence said.
“And I have to tell you, I don't -- I don't think we'd have ever made it to these hallowed halls back in 1790 if the -- if the pulpits of this country had been silenced from speaking about what they thought was right and wrong,” he said.
“The president provided real leadership in the campaign where he identified the Johnson amendment and he told people of faith of every background across this country that he would work to repeal it, and he's directed the administration to begin to look at ways, both legislatively and through executive action to do that,” Pence said.
“But no executive orders beyond that, beyond fixing the Johnson amendment, in your view?” Stephanopolous asked.
Pence said it will be “the purview of the president to determine whether any of that's necessary.”
“But I will tell you for our part, the focus of this administration will continue to be to have a safer America, to have a more prosperous America, and to continue to advance the president's agenda, both on Capitol Hill and through executive action and carry that message all across the country,” he said.