By Christopher White, National Correspondent
NEW YORK – New polling suggests that only 27 percent of registered voters believe President Donald Trump to be religious.
According to data from POLITICO and Morning Consult, just over a third of all Christians polled view the president as religious, with 50 percent not seeing him as religious.
Despite the president’s visit last week to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, among Catholics, that number is the lowest, with only 23 percent of Catholics viewing him as religious.
Trump was joined by First Lady Melania Trump during a visit to the shrine to the late Polish pope, while the nation has devolved into widespread unrest following the killing of George Floyd by police officers.
The city’s Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the first African American to hold the post, denounced the visit as reprehensible.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” he wrote in a statement.
In response, the shrine noted that the visit was a pre-planned event originally meant to host the president for the signing of an executive order on religious liberty.
Wednesday, President Trump said in a tweet that he was honored by a letter written to him by former apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò. He wrote to the president after his visit to the St. John Paul II National Shrine.
“[T]he attack to which you were subjected after your visit to the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II,” Archbishop Viganò wrote “is part of the orchestrated media narrative which seeks not to fight racism and bring social order, but to aggravate dispositions; not to bring justice, but to legitimize violence and crime; not to serve the truth, but to favor one political faction.”
President Trump posted a link to the letter for his 82 million followers: “So honored by Archbishop Viganò’s incredible letter to me. I hope everyone, religious or not, reads it!,” the president said.
Archbishop Vigan Viganò was the apostolic nuncio of the Holy See to the United States from 2011 to 2016. During the last two years he has published several documents criticizing Pope Francis and even calling for his resignation.
New data on how American voters view Trump’s religiosity comes just one week after new data was released by the Public Religious Research Institute (PRRI) which found the president rapidly losing support among white Catholic voters.
In the latest PRRI data, only 37 percent of white Catholics held favorable views of Trump, representing a significant drop from 49 percent during 2019, and an even further decline from a high of 60 percent in March and 48 percent in April.
During the 2016 election, the Catholic vote was sharply divided between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Among one analysis by the American National Election Studies, Clinton won the Catholic vote by 48 percent to Trump’s 45 percent. 2016 exit polling from the New York Times, differed, showing Trump winning the Catholic vote 52 to 45.
In the lead-up to election day, the president continues to make a big push for Catholic voters. In a call with religious leaders in April, Trump boasted of being the best president in the history of the Catholic Church, saying the “situation coming up on November 3, the likes of which have never been more important for the Church.”
The president is affiliated with the Presbyerian Church, and First Lady Melania Trump is Catholic.