President Trump urged more than a thousand of his evangelical supporters to help send more Republicans to Congress in next year’s midterm elections while telling them “we’re under siege” but will emerge “bigger and better and stronger than ever.”

“We have to build those numbers up because we’re just not going to get votes” from Democrats, who the president blasted as “obstructionists” while addressing more than 1,000 activists at a Washington, D.C., hotel. “Sadly, we’re going to have to do it as Republicans because we’re not going to get any Democrat votes and that’s a very, very sad, sad thing.”

Trump, who won 80 percent of the white evangelical vote in the presidential election, vowed to be unwavering in his support of religious freedom.

“We will always support our evangelical community and defend your right and the right of all Americans to follow and to live by the teachings of their faith,” the president said. “And as you know, we’re under siege, you understand that. But we will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever. You watch. You fought hard for me and now I’m fighting hard for all of you.”

In making his pitch to his evangelical supporters, Trump also pointed to his nomination of federal judge Neil Gorsuch, who was a popular choice among Christian conservatives, and his decision to direct the IRS to ease up on using a rarely enforced rule barring partisan political activity by churches.

“As long as I’m president, no one is going to stop you from practicing your faith or preaching what is in your heart,” he said.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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