AMES, Iowa — Donald Trump took the stage at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa to loud applause, but he appeared to lose much of that support when he talked about his own faith and his views of other politicians.
Moderator Frank Luntz questions Trump's use of the word "damn" in answer to a question, given that the event is sponsored by a social conservative organization. Trump called Luntz's rebuke part of the politically correct culture that has harmed America.
Luntz then chose to ask Trump about his Christian faith.
"Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?" Luntz asked.
"That's a tough question," Trump said. When pressed, Trump added "I'm not sure I have."
When Luntz revisited the subject, Trump talked about how his intellect made him especially qualified to be president of the United States.
"I pray, I go to church," Trump said about his religious life. "I do things that are wrong, I guess so."
Luntz asked Trump about his controversial statements including his remarks about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Trump expressed anger at McCain saying "crazies" turned out for him in Arizona and appeared to question McCain's service.
"He's a war hero because he was captured," Trump said.
In an interview with reporters after his remarks, Trump doubled down on his remarks attacking McCain.
"I think John McCain has done very little for veterans," Trump said. "I didn't pick a fight with John McCain; John McCain picked a fight with me."
Despite his controversial statements, Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats told the Washington Examiner to not discount Trump.
"People who underestimate Donald Trump do it at their own peril," Vander Plaats said. "He may not have a lot of political accomplishments, but he sure has a lot of accomplishments in business. ... I would not underestimate Donald Trump."
Trump is certainly not lacking in self-esteem. He told reporters he would not rule out a running for president as a third-party candidate, and he would spend however much of his own money it would take to get elected.