Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, on Friday vowed to keep his anti-LGBT views out of the public eye as he tries to win over evangelicals in his first major test of whether he can recapture the White House in November.
“My message to you is, you’re going to hear it from me: If you don’t like it, don’t vote for me,” Trump said in an interview with conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity, in which he also pledged to make his views “open” in the race.
“I’m not going to apologize for saying I’m anti-marriage, for saying that gay marriage is a sin,” he said.
“I’m saying it as a matter of principle.”
Trump is trying to court evangelicals, and he has repeatedly promised to make it clear that he opposes gay marriage and abortion, and that he will not be bound by a Supreme Court ruling that struck down gay marriage bans in Colorado and elsewhere.
The Republican nominee has made no secret of his desire to woo evangelicals to his campaign and has sought to use social media to drum up support for his candidacy in hopes of appealing to them.
Trump’s campaign on Friday released a list of policies it plans to advocate for during the campaign, including an end to federal support for anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and their families.
But the campaign did not provide details about how it would respond to any specific campaign pledges from the candidate, or any other campaign proposals.
Trump has often said he would “get rid of the death penalty” for the mentally ill, a policy that some experts say is more likely to drive up the number of people on death row than the overall number of inmates.
Trump on Friday also touted his business experience, saying he has built “some of the most successful businesses in the world.”
“I’ve created a lot of jobs for people,” he told Hannity.
“We’ve built some of the largest companies in the history of the world.
So I have great experience.
And I think people will respect that.”
The presumptive Republican nominee also praised former President Barack Obama for his support for LGBT rights, and suggested that he might not have been as supportive of LGBT rights had he been in office.
“President Obama has been a great friend to the LGBT community.
He is a very strong supporter of the LGBT rights movement,” Trump told Hannity, adding that the president “has never been in favor of a bathroom bill that would have restricted people’s rights.
I know that President Obama is a strong supporter.
So he’s a great person.
And he’s done a lot for the LGBT and LGBT rights.”
The campaign did offer a statement to BuzzFeed News that said the comments reflected Trump’s “sincere, respectful, and authentic appreciation of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.”
In recent weeks, Trump has made a number of controversial comments about LGBT people, including his contention that a “bitch” can’t be elected president.
Trump has called himself a “man of the people” and has said that people who are not supporters of gay marriage should “just vote for Hillary Clinton” or other Democratic candidates.
He also repeatedly said that his campaign was a reflection of the Republican Party and that it was “a great party.”
“If you don, you don of course, and it doesn’t mean you’re an un-American, it doesn’ mean you don’t believe in the values of our party,” Trump declared in an appearance on Fox News on Thursday.
“It means you want to have fun, it means you’re not afraid to say what you think.
And that’s what we’re going for.”
Trump said on Friday that the Republican party is “in the process of healing” after losing the popular vote in 2016.
“Our party is healing.
And we’re healing.
But it’s not healing as in I’ve done everything right, I’ve healed, but I’m not the one who’s healing,” he added.