(CNSNews.com) – President Trump took a swipe at the weekend at 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke for saying that as president he would revoke the tax-exempt status of Christian institutions opposed to same-sex marriage.
Without mentioning O’Rourke’s name, Trump dismissed him as a “wacko,” and told the Values Voter Summit in Washington that he would never allow the federal government to be used to harass people of faith, or the IRS to be “used as a political weapon.”
“Just a few days ago a Democrat running for president proposed revoking the tax-exempt status of many churches and religious groups,” he said. “And you know why, and you know who it is. He’s a wacko.”
“I will never allow the federal government to be used to target, harass, or punish communities of faith,” Trump said. “And I will never allow the IRS to be used as a political weapon.”
In a lengthy, well-received addressed that sounded at times like a stump speech, the president told the audience that their and his shared values were “are under assault as never before.”
“On every front the ultra-left is waging war on the values shared by everyone in this room,” he said. “They are trying to silence and punish the speech of Christians, and religious believers of all faiths – you know it better than anyone.”
“They are trying to use the courts to rewrite the laws, undermine democracy, and force through an agenda they can’t pass at the ballot box,” he said.
“They are trying to hound you from the workplace, expel you from the public square, and weaken the American family and indoctrinate our children.”
“They resent and disdain faithful Americans, who hold fast to our nation’s historic values,” Trump said. “And if given the chance they would use every instrument of government power – including the IRS – to try to shut you down.”
During Thursday’s CNN town hall on LGBTQ equality, O’Rourke was asked if he thought that “religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage.”
“Yes,” O’Rourke replied. “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”
“And so as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans,” he added.