Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday night accused President Obama of apologizing to Muslims as he focused on religious themes at a campaign rally in Florence, S.C.
Trump touted his controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, and referenced the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“And then President Obama yesterday goes to a mosque and he apologizes,” he said to audible boos. “I mean, what’s going on?”
The billionaire businessman said he believes Christianity is “under siege,” arguing that churches could consolidate its power on political issues but are “afraid to lose their tax-exempt status.”
Trump also took the opportunity to compliment South Carolina — a key early-voting state — on its places of worship.
“You have the most beautiful churches I’ve seen,” he the crowd, saying he passed several churches on the way to the civic center where the rally was held.
“I almost just want to go in and pray,” he added, before joking that he didn’t want to be late for the rally.
While heralding his own deal-making abilities in a pitch to supporters that he’d build a wall on the nation’s southern border, Trump invoked a biblical reference as he decried the skills of politicians.
“They’re never gonna get you to the promised land, folks,” Trump said. “None of them. It’s not their thing.”
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, who endorsed Trump last week, gave opening remarks.
Trump is slated to appear in Saturday’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, three days before the primary there. Trump placed second behind rival Ted Cruz in Monday’s Iowa caucuses.
a town hall in New Hampshire earlier in the day Friday amid the threat of a snowstorm, with his campaign saying he’d return to the Granite State starting Saturday through the Tuesday primary.
South Carolina hosts the third voting contest in the Republican presidential race on Feb. 20, following Iowa and New Hampshire, a week before the Nevada caucus.