WASHINGTON — Many conservatives consider the impeachment process to be “political theater” and are more concerned about the situation in Syria, according to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
In an interview with The Christian Post at the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Saturday, Perkins doubted that the recently announced impeachment process will result in President Donald Trump being removed from office.
“I cannot see, unless there is some information that comes out there that thus far we have not seen, I cannot imagine that the Senate would uphold the articles of impeachment, because it would take 20 Republicans crossing over,” said Perkins.
“Most conservatives and the Values Voters here see that as political theater; they’re not shaken by that.”
Perkins believes that most conservatives and attendees of the summit “are more concerned about what’s unfolding right now in Syria. I think that’s the first time they’ve actually seen any space between them and this president.”
Perkins, who presently serves as chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, explained that diverse religious communities in Northern Syria had recently made an effort at advancing religious freedom and that this was being challenged by the recent Turkish military intervention.
Last week, Turkey launched strikes against Kurdish rebels in Syria after Trump removed U.S. troops from the area.
Perkins noted with concern that their progress on religious tolerance was “in jeopardy” and conservatives “want to know how the president going forward is going to protect” those in Syria.
Perkins also told CP that he felt that the overall American conservative movement was changing to reflect a greater reaction to what he considered an increase in liberal censorship and repression of right-wing ideas and individuals.
“I long for the days when I had debates with liberals and we could disagree but we could still be agreeable,” said Perkins, adding that he believes progressives “don’t want to have a debate” and “don’t want to have a discussion.”
“There’s no time for dialogue. It is all dissent must be silenced. So I think from that standpoint, I think conservativism is coming to terms with that and it was a little slow, but coming to realize that.”
Perkins believes that the rise of Trump was “a product of that” change and also “a reflection of what it’s going to take to prevail.”
“I think we see at the turn of the century more of this leftist idea of punishing and silencing all dissent. And it is really intertwined with all of the sexual ideology that has encompassed our culture and it puts everything else in jeopardy,” he continued.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion — all of those things really hang in the balance with this debate.”
The FRC’s legislative affiliate arm, FRC Action, helped oversee the Values Voter Summit, which is an annual gathering in the District of Columbia of social conservative activists and politicians.
First held in 2006, the annual event boasts approximately 3,000 attendees from across the United States and several foreign countries.
Trump, who previously spoke at the summit in 2017, gave remarks at this year’s gathering Saturday evening where he spoke about attacks on religious liberty, the impeachment process, and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.