Donald Trump said Tony Perkins advised him on his Liberty University speech
Trump said he'd asked Sarah Palin to address her son's arrest at a campaign stop Wednesday
Donald Trump says it’s Tony Perkins’ fault he said “two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians” during a speech at Liberty University this week – a mistake that raised questions about his biblical knowledge as he courts evangelical voters.
The Republican presidential front-runner said in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday that Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, had given him notes on what to say when he visited the evangelical university in Lynchburg, Virginia.
“Tony Perkins wrote that out for me – he actually wrote out 2, he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians,” Trump said. “I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, ‘Well Tony has to know better than anybody.’ ”
Trump’s pronunciation of the Bible verse drew laughter from the Christian audience – but he downplayed it, saying his Scottish mother would have said “two Corinthians,” as well.
“It’s a very small deal, but a lot of people in different sections of the world say two, and I’ve had many, many people say that to me. My mother, as you know, was from Scotland, and they say two,” Trump said.
Perkins said Thursday he was “guilty as charged” of writing the verse the way Trump described.
“No, I don’t dispute it at all. I wrote the scripture reference, which is 2 Corinthians 3:17, which is how it’s written,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront.” “I’m guilty as charged. That’s exactly what I did. I sent him a couple of suggestions of some things he could talk about as a connection point.”
“It shows that he’s not familiar with Bible,” Perkins added. “Donald Trump’s a very interesting guy. There are some things about him that I find fascinating, that I like about him, as well as other evangelicals.”
Perkins, who has not yet endorsed a candidate, said “there’s a lot more to consider” before he gets behind a candidate.
Trump on Wednesday also touted Sarah Palin’s endorsement, saying he encouraged Palin to address her son’s arrest at a campaign event earlier on Wednesday. Palin had said that her son Track Palin’s arrest this week on domestic violence charges stemmed from post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered as a result of his military service in Iraq, and that soldiers come back “hardened.”
She ultimately laid responsibility at the feet of President Barack Obama.
“And it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest that we have a commander-in-chief who will respect them,” she said.
Asked if it was appropriate for Palin to blame Obama, Trump said: “I think so. You know, everything starts at the top, and he’s the president.”
Trump dismissed a question about whether he was uncomfortable playing second fiddle to the 2008 vice presidential candidate when she delivered an endorsement speech on Tuesday while Trump watched on from behind.
“I didn’t know it was going to be quite that long, but she made a beautiful – you know, she made a very good speech,” Trump said. “I thought it would be disrespectful to her if I left the stage. So no, I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.”
And Trump laid into rival Ted Cruz, saying that “everybody dislikes him – I mean he’s a nasty guy.”
He said Cruz has alienated too many lawmakers to be able to strike bargains on Capitol Hill if he’s in the Oval Office.
“You’re gonna have to make deals. You’re gonna have to get these senators and congressman and all of these people, you’ve gotta cajole them. You’ve got to make deal,” Trump said.
Trump also raised questions about Cruz’s honesty, pointing to his failure to properly disclose a loan he’d taken out during his 2012 Senate campaign.
“He didn’t know about his loans, he didn’t know about Goldman Sachs and Citi, he didn’t know he was a citizen of Canada, and now he’s running for president,” Trump said.
Asked about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Trump wouldn’t say whether Republican Gov. Rick Snyder should resign – instead laying blame at the feet of the city council, Flint’s mayor and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well.
“There are a lot of people responsible for this. This is a horrible thing. It’s incompetent, it’s bad management, and it really is a very bad mark on government,” Trump said.
He added: “All they can do is get the funds to clean it up and get it done and get it done quickly because you can’t have people drinking this garbage.”
CNN’s Eugene Scott contributed to this report.