And love, Allen explains, underpins the presidency of Donald Trump and explains why she supports him despite his three marriages, adulterous affairs and frequent insult-laden diatribes. “When he got out of New York, he fell in love with the people. That’s why he holds these rallies. He’s the people’s president. He loves the country and he loves the American people who work hard and have been overlooked for years. The insiders in Washington forgot about us.”
Allen, 71, was attending the 13th annual Values Voter Summit at a luxury hotel in Washington DC on Friday. A procession of speakers championed Trump’s achievements in advancing the conservative agenda over the past 20 months and whipped up hostility towards Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Some also spoke in defence of his supreme court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who has almost been derailed by allegations of sexual assault from when he was 17.
The president’s grip on the evangelical movement looked as solid as ever. He dips into a deep well of grievance: criticism of him in the media only appears to strengthen him among groups who complain that they, too, are persecuted by the urban elites. Their consciences have found their own way of coming to terms with the seemingly glaring contradiction between their strict moral principles and Trump’s private life, often by reaching for biblical terms such as forgiveness and redemption.
Like many at the conference, Allen was initially a supporter of Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary but, when the Texas senator was beaten into second place, she threw in her lot with Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton. “We had one choice if we wanted our country back: Trump or Hillary. I believe God put him in that position because he’s so tough. He has an amazing energy and determination. The amazing thing about Trump is that he doesn’t get rattled. The more the fake news does, the more energised he becomes.”