Christian leaders start to break from Trump — with an eye on DeSantis

Longtime evangelical pastor Brad Cranston voted twice for Donald Trump — he wasn’t perfect, Cranston reasoned, but he appointed conservative judges and advanced the

antiabortion cause. Last year, he thought he could back Trump again. But Trump’s flaws have only grown in Cranston’s eyes, as the former president launches a third bid

for the White House while criticizing abortion opponents at times and fixating on “himself” and his 2020 election loss rather than “on the country and on the issues.” Now,

Cranston is drawn to other prospective candidates with a “strong biblical worldview.” “The one who I really think has the best chance and is a fighter is Ron DeSantis,”

said Cranston, the Iowa-based founder of a national group called Baptists for Biblical Values. The second-term governor of Florida “has had the courage to take on the woke crowd,”

he added. Many conservative Christian leaders who once rallied behind Trump and reveled in his policy victories now say they are interested in new standard-bearers for

2024, citing similar concerns as well as worries about Trump’s political weaknesses after November’s midterm elections in which he was blamed for elevating polarizing candidates

who ended up losing. Some have raised alarms as would-be rivals make strong competing appeals to the religious right.