A candidate who seeks to make a good impression should also probably refrain from describing Holy Communion in the way Trump did: "When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of 'let's go on and let's make it right.'"
A senior Iowa Republican who was in the room, sitting with a group of grassroots activists as Trump spoke, was dumbfounded by the candidate's views of religion. "While there were audible groans in the crowd when Trump questioned whether McCain was a war hero," the senior Republican said via email, "it was Trump's inability to articulate any coherent relationship with God or demonstrate the role faith plays in his life that really sucked the oxygen out of the room.."
The senior Republican continued: "Milling around talking to activists in the hallways/lobby after Trump's speech, THAT is what those Iowa conservatives were discussing, not the McCain comment."
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alan Rappeport noticed the same thing: "It was these comments, not his attack on Mr. McCain, that prompted the most muttering and unease in the audience."Compare and contrast Trump's remarks with those of two candidates for the 1980 GOP nomination. In With God on Our Side, William Martin tells of former Texas governor John Connally meeting a group of evangelicals. One asked what he would say to God in order to get into heaven. “Well, my mother was a Methodist, my pappy was a Methodist, my grandmother was a Methodist, and I’d just tell Him I ain’t any worse than any of the other people that want to get into heaven.” The group’s leader told Martin: “Well, that fell like a stone on all these Christian leaders.” A little later, Ronald Reagan met with them and faced the same question. “I wouldn’t give God any reason for letting me in,” said Reagan. ”I’d just ask for mercy, because of what Jesus Christ did for me at Calvary.” The group leader recalled: “BOOM! To a man and a woman in that room, they said `Let’s go!’ and they went all out for him.”