"Going in my expectations were - I was open minded, but they were very low. But there was little of substance," the attendee said, concluding that the meeting was "an enormous waste of time."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, told supporters in an email that Trump "related well, coming across confident and comfortable in such a large crowd of thought leaders whose opinions and actions will be so critical as we approach November."
She said that she was encouraged when Trump reiterated a commitment to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court.
Hale said that he did not doubt that Trump believes in pro-life policies, but added that "he doesn't sound like someone who this is a bread-and-butter issue for."
On religious liberty, which was also brought up at the meeting, Trump didn't sound as if "he knows the specifics of religious liberty concerns" that are talked about by Catholics today, Hale continued.
He pointed to one incident, in which a photo of Trump with Jerry Falwell, Jr. – the president of Liberty University who endorsed Trump and has been named to his evangelical advisory committee – made headlines because of a Playboy magazine cover hanging on the wall of Trump's office in the background of the photo.
"I think that image epitomizes the difficult dance a Christian has supporting Donald Trump," Hale said, voicing his agreement with Dr. Robert George who said that Trump is "manifestly unfit to be President of the United States."
"Nothing he said yesterday changes my opinion of that," Hale said.
Another Catholic in attendance, Joshua Mercer, co-founder of CatholicVote.org, said it was "good" that Trump met with Christian leaders, but recommended that he meet with Catholic leaders as well to "get advice" from them.
Eric Teetsel, who was the director of faith outreach for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, protested the meeting with a sign saying that various practices like torture, racism, misogyny, and murdering the children of terrorists were "not pro-life," implicitly accusing Trump of supporting or condoning these practices at some point in his life.
Teetsel "wasn't invited" to the meeting, he later tweeted, but said if he had gone he would have asked Trump the following question:
"Mr. Trump, you are a very wealthy man. You claim to be a Christian. You say you are pro-life, pro-religious liberty, and pro-marriage. There are many fine organizations working on life, marriage and religious liberty. Which ones do you personally support financially?"
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, was in attendance at the meeting. He told TIME magazine that Trump "came across as reasonable, not reckless."
"Probably the biggest takeaway was not what Trump will do for them as president, but what Christians can do if they throw off the perception that they are a significant minority that are not relevant," he added.
Photo credit: Christopher Halloran via www.shutterstock.com.
You may also like: