Washington • When news broke this month about President Donald Trump's alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, it seemed the kind of story that would devastate a group of voters once known as the "Moral Majority."

But this is the Trump era, and for white evangelicals, the days since the Daniels report have offered proof that the president remains righteous to them in ways that matter far more.

Trump stood among antiabortion activists in the Rose Garden, where he praised the mission of March for Life participants on the Mall. His administration opened an office to protect health-care workers who refuse to provide services that run counter to their religious convictions. And the White House announced that it would fast-track the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The actions are among the latest in a remarkable string of overtures to religious conservatives coming from an unlikely champion of their agenda.

A year into Trump's presidency, white evangelicals are rewarding him with some of his strongest support, even amid continuing salacious headlines about his personal foibles.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this month found that 68 percent of white evangelical Protestants approve of Trump's job performance — a figure that is nearly double that of the population as a whole and that is higher than any other religious or demographic group.

"The evangelical base is about as solid as I've seen for any sitting president," said Marc Rotterman, a longtime Republican consultant based in North Carolina. "By and large, they're focused on results, and they're willing to overlook any perceived imperfections in the president."

The emergence of Daniels — whom the Wall Street Journal reported was paid $130,000 by a Trump lawyer to keep quiet about an alleged decade-old dalliance with Trump — has shown little sign of sinking the president's standing among evangelicals, despite accusations of hypocrisy on the part of leaders who skewered the lewd behavior of President Bill Clinton.

Some big-name white evangelical leaders — especially among the old guard — have stepped forward to defend Trump or to give their blessing to look the other way. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said last week that Trump should get a "mulligan" for the alleged liaison. And prominent evangelist Franklin Graham said Christians are not looking for Trump to be "pastor of this nation."

Some rank-and-file evangelicals say Trump's presidency shouldn't be judged for conduct that occurred long before he took office, while others say they simply don't believe the news reports.

But more than anything, they are letting their view of Trump be guided by other things for which they give him credit: cracking down on illegal immigration, improving the economy and making the nation feel more, in their view, patriotic.

"I think a lot of people don't like him and are out to get him any way they can," said Tammy Napier, 53, a cashier in Hartville, Missouri, when asked about the Daniels news. "I'm from Missouri, the 'Show-Me State,' and I'm, like, 'Show me the proof.' "

Allen Cannon, who lives in Ovettt, Mississippi, and works for the county transportation department, said Trump needs to be held to a human standard.

"I'm not saying he didn't do it," Cannon, 38, said of the president's alleged affair. "I don't agree with it if he did. But after all, he's not God. So if he was God and was president, then I'd have a problem. That is the only being who is sin-free: God."

"You have to take the good along with the bad," Cannon added. "In my view, Donald Trump's good outweighs his bad."

The Post-ABC poll underscored how many white evangelical voters are making a distinction between how they view Trump's behavior and how they view his presidency.

While 68 percent say they approve of Trump's performance, 47 percent say he's acting in a way that is "fit and proper" for a president.

Ralph Reed, a longtime conservative Christian activist who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, recalled that "a thrice-married billionaire from Manhattan" was considered an unlikely ally when the Republican presidential primaries began.

But during the campaign, Trump courted the white evangelical community with specific promises on long-standing issues, and he has been true to his word since reaching the White House, Reed said.

"He has delivered on those promises in a very significant way and kept this community close and been a warrior on their issues," he said. "There's been a lot that's been accomplished, and it feels like there's more every week."

With little effort, Reed ticked off a list of stances and actions Trump has taken that have drawn praise from evangelicals, including his video address to the annual March for Life — the first time a president has appeared on screen at the event. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush called in by telephone.

Other actions Reed cited included an executive order easing enforcement of the so-called Johnson Amendment, which restricts political activity by churches; signing legislation to give states the right to end funding of Planned Parenthood; nominating conservative judges, including Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; and moving toward withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran, which Reed called "a dangerous and bloody regime committed to the destruction of Israel."

Reed said that if the allegations involving Trump and Daniels are true, he will be "profoundly disappointed." But he said that for those in the faith community, the actions he cited "all rank far higher in their concerns than an unsubstantiated allegation that is over a decade old."

Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant who advised Trump during the 2016 general election, said that Trump has engendered goodwill with white evangelicals because he has been true to his word on policy.

"In the past, evangelicals have gotten a lot of lip service, particularly from Republican presidents," Bennett said. "Trump is actually delivering."

And the Daniels story, he said, is not really resonating with voters across the board. "Trump gets accused of something dastardly every day, so there's a numbness," he said.

When Marva Burke of Sugar Creek, Missouri, first heard the Daniels reports, she said she talked about it with a friend with whom she often discusses politics.

"We just thought it was another block in the roadway," said Burke, 68, an evangelical who characterized Trump's detractors as "nitwits who are trying to block him on everything."

"They're more interested in the smut," said Burke, who said she was a "full-fledged Democrat" before voting for Trump. "I'm sorry, give me a break. I don't care about that stuff."

Burke said she simply doesn't want to hear about Trump's sex life — especially if it involves what happened before he took office. She said she likes Trump's efforts to restrict immigration and tighten welfare rules.

Like many evangelicals, her focus over the past year hasn't been so much on the issue religious leaders are discussing on cable news, such as the "conscience office" opened in the Department of Health and Human Services to protect medical providers from offering procedures that run counter to their religious convictions.

Dan Perna, a wine distributor from Vermont, mostly praised the president for making the country "safer and more prosperous" and credited him with supporting people's right to say "Merry Christmas."

"This is a Christian-based country and it should continue," said Perna, 54, who grew up Presbyterian and said he was born again after a powerful experience as a younger man. "It's continuously trying to be dragged in a direction it's not. You want to have sharia law, go to fricking Iran, leave me out of it."

In Mark Stark's house outside Atlanta, the TV is usually on during dinner, and often includes news about Trump, for whom Stark voted and whom Stark thinks is "for the most part doing a good job."

While the 57-year-old graphic artist doesn't know for sure whether Trump is a Christian — or an evangelical, as Stark is — just hearing conservative views from the White House "provides some level of comfort," he said.

Stark said he believes that the reports about Daniels are probably true and that they are a good reason to teach his kids a few lessons: Be cynical and skeptical about public leaders across the board. Note how public morality in general is in the toilet. And when it comes to ethics, Trump is no better or worse than anyone else who has held that office.

"Everyone does things they're not proud of; it's just whether you get caught," he said. Other presidents "probably all do things they shouldn't do, and wouldn't want people to know. Everywhere you turn, our senses have been exposed to so much in just the last few years. Our compass is kind of fading."

Conservative evangelical figures who appear on TV and talk about religious morality in terms of sexuality and abortion aren't talking about the same things Stark thinks of in terms of the most urgent religious and moral issues in the United States today. He is thinking about immigration — primarily security and his fear of Islamic terrorism. And on those issues, he and Trump are in sync, he said.

Carol Brink of Menlo Park, California, who spent several years helping to start evangelical churches, said there are aspects of Trump's behavior that she doesn't like.

"He pops off, and his language - he dumps all his thoughts out without filtering them first," said Brink, 82.

"I think most evangelicals are not happy with his language, but in general they're encouraged by the non-Washington part of it all," she said. "A lot of people get tired of the same old thing out of Washington. It's kind of nice to have something different."

Brink said she appreciates Trump's efforts to cut corporate taxes and roll back regulations.

Asked if she thinks Trump has strong morals, Brink said, "That's a judgment I have trouble making for people."

The Washington Post's Scott Clement contributed to this report.