CNN anchor Erin Burnett confronted evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. on his defense of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE after reports surfaced that Trump's lawyer paid an adult film star to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.
"Everyone keeps saying forgive, and my question to you is, how many times? I mean if you stand for the issue of familial fidelity and integrity, how many times does it take before you say this is a person who lacks character?" Erin Burnett asked Falwell Jr. on CNN on Wednesday.
Falwell Jr. responded by saying Trump has changed since the alleged affair took place and that all sinners are equal in God's eyes.
"He's not the same person now that he was back then. I believe he's changed. And Jesus said that if you lust after a woman in your heart it's the same as committing adultery," he said.
"You're just as bad as the person who has [cheated], and that's why our whole faith is based around the idea that we're all equally bad, that we're all sinners, that we all need Christ's forgiveness and that's why evangelicals are so quick to forgive Donald Trump when he asks for forgiveness for things that happened 10, 15 years ago," he continued.
The Liberty Univerity president is the latest prominent evangelical to defend Trump in the wake of the reported affair.
Franklin Graham, the son of famed televangelist Billy Graham, also said Trump had changed as a person since the alleged affair, while Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said the president deserved a second chance.
Critics have called the community's defense of Trump hypocritical, given their conservative stances on familial values.
Falwell Jr. offered a similar defense for Trump in 2016 following the release of a behind-the-scenes "Access Hollywood" tape, on which Trump is heard on a hot mic making lewd comments about groping women by the genitals. He called the comments "reprehensible" but said "we’re all sinners" and emphasized that Trump apologized.
Burnett pointed out that Trump has not apologized for the alleged affair with former adult film star Stormy Daniels. He has denied the affair happened.