MIAMI — A group of evangelical leaders endorsed Joe Biden at a press conference in Miami on Friday as the Biden and Trump campaigns amp up their Latino outreach in the battleground state.
Pastor Antonio Mansogo, regional vice president of the National Latino Coalition of Christian Ministers and Leaders, (CONLAMIC), said at a press event that they are endorsing Biden because of the moment we are living in, as well as “his personality and his political trajectory,” adding that he is “an impeccable and decent man.”
Mansogo said that the last four years have seen division and "destruction" and that Biden “will unify our nation, reconcile our nation," and his policies will help create millions of jobs.
He said that although their coalition is nonprofit and nonpartisan, “in moments of crisis, the church has to unite the people.”
William Sanchez, legal counsel for the coalition, said the organization has been in existence for more than 20 years and they represent over 15,000 churches around the country.
He said they are backing Biden because “he has Christian principles, he respects people, his sense of decency.”
“Let’s just say, what we’ve had in the White House the last three and a half years is no way in comparison to what we had before with Obama and Biden. You will have a president that respects the rights of immigrants ... People will feel respected,” he said.
Evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, with many citing their anti-abortion stance as a reason.
Latino evangelicals are considered less of a monolith than white evangelicals, with some more open to issues of racial justice and immigrants' rights, which are associated with the Democratic Party. Some prominent evangelicals have criticized the Trump administration for intentionally separating children from parents to deter migration to the United States, leading to the continued separation of over 500 children from their parents.
The Biden campaign launched a faith outreach program aimed at Latinos in mid-September.
The Trump campaign has also been courting Latino evangelicals. Throughout the year, the campaign has hosted dozens of virtual events with Latino evangelical worshippers.
Two weeks ago, Eric Trump, the president’s son, spoke at a South Florida megachurch Segadores de Vida.
In January, Trump launched his Evangelicals for Trump coalition at El Rey Jesús, a Miami megachurch, which is considered the largest Spanish-speaking congregation with thousands of attendees. The church is led by Guillermo Maldonado, a Honduran immigrant and one of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the country. He has been a key ally of Trump, comparing the president to the Biblical Persian King Cyrus at the event, saying Trump "could bring change into this nation."
An editorial from December 2019 in Christianity Today, a major Christian publication, called for Trump’s ouster after the president was impeached by the House.