Circle of Protection

We are heads of Christian denominations, agencies, organizations, and educational institutions who believe that God expects national leaders to prioritize the needs of poor and hungry people.

What the 2024 Presidential Candidates Are Saying About Poverty

Dean Phillips, Democrat

Vivek Ramaswamy, Republican

Asa Hutchinson, Republican

Ryan Binkley, Republican

Sixty Christian leaders have asked all the presidential candidates in 2023 to make short videos telling the American people what they “would do as president to offer help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.”

The Circle of Protection has reached out to candidates in both parties and is making candidate videos available as they are shared with us. We do not publicly evaluate candidate policy positions or endorse candidates.

Nearly all the candidates in both parties made videos or statements on poverty in the last three presidential election cycles (2012, 2016. and 2020).

But in 2023 the leading candidates – Biden, Trump, Haley, and DeSantis – have yet to make videos on poverty.  Three Republican candidates – Hutchinson, Ramaswamy, and Binkley – have said what they would do to provide help and opportunity to poor and hungry people.

Past Candidate Statements


President Joseph Biden delivered this address on poverty in 2020 at the Moral Monday Mass Assembly and Teach-In of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. He was introduced by Rev. William Barber, Co-chair of the Campaign and a signer of the Circle of Protection letter to presidential candidates.  The Circle of Protection worked with the Poor People’s Campaign to encourage Biden to make this speech in the run-up to the election.  His opponent, Former President Donald Trump, did not make a Circle of Protection video on poverty in either the primary or general election.

2019 Primary Elections

In the primary elections of 2019, the Circle received the following videos from seven Democratic candidates, including Joe Biden. Donald Trump and his challenger, Bill Weld, did not respond to the Circle’s request for a statement. Some campaigns have deleted the videos their candidates made in 2019.

Michael Bennet, Democrat

Joe Biden, Democrat

Mike Bloomberg, Democrat

Cory Booker, Democrat

Pete Buttigieg, Democrat

John Delaney, Democrat

Amy Klobuchar, Democrat

Tom Steyer, Democrat


During the general election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both provided written statements. Click an image to view the full text.

Below the written statements are the videos provided during the primary elections. Nearly all the candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, provided videos.

View the statement by Donald Trump
View the statement by Hillary Clinton

Transcript for Jeb Bush

Transcript for Dr. Ben Carson

Transcript for Hillary Clinton

Transcript for Ted Cruz

Transcript for Carly Fiorina

Transcript for Lindsey Graham

Transcript for Mike Huckabee

Transcript for John Kasich

Transcript for Martin O’Malley

Transcript for Marco Rubio

Transcript for Bernie Sanders


The Circle of Protection’s reached out to presidential candidates with requests to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the general election of 2012.  The leadership of the Circle of Protection was surprised and delighted when they both made videos on poverty.

Barack Obama, Democrat

Mitt Romney, Republican

About Us

The Circle of Protection is non-partisan. We look to both Republicans and Democrats for leadership, and we believe the American people should have the opportunity to compare and contrast their approaches. We have asked Democratic and Republican candidates for president to share their plans with us.