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Trump Angry With Evangelical Leaders

Would Donald Trump have become president in 2020 without the backing of prominent evangelical leaders? One has to assume that the answer is "no." After all, his win was narrow, and at least some of the evangelicals who voted for him must have been willing to do so because their pastors encouraged it, or at least said it was OK.

These days, however, evangelical leaders are not so sure about Trump, and many of them have been staying out of the 2024 contest, or else backing other candidates, most obviously Ron DeSantis. There are many things that Trump is only dimly aware of, but one thing he tracks with laser precision is who is fawning over him and who is not. He's noticed that the evangelicals are hesitant this cycle, and this week he lashed out. Sitting for an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, the former president fumed:

Nobody has ever done more for Right to Life than Donald Trump. I put three Supreme Court justices, who all voted, and they got something that they've been fighting for 64 years, for many, many years. There's great disloyalty in the world of politics and that's a sign of disloyalty.

In Trumpworld, of course, there is no greater sin than disloyalty.

There are two takeaways here, we'd say. Both are fairly obvious, but we'll lay them out anyhow. First, if Trump really does lose some sizable segment of the evangelical vote, he's screwed. That is doubly or triply true if the evangelicals coalesce around some other candidate. And petulantly attacking the evangelical leadership in the media is not going to help win them back. But Trump's emotional maturity is such that he just can't help himself.

The other takeaway is that evangelicals' choice of candidate has very, very little to do with Christianity or with what it says in the Bible. Donald Trump is no more or less Christian now than he was 8 years ago (he's gone from 0.0% Christian to 0.0% Christian). Ron DeSantis is no more Christian than Trump is; anyone who would, for example, use desperate human beings (i.e., migrants) as a tool to hurt their enemies clearly cares little for the lessons of Jesus' ministry. To put it in bumper-sticker form, DeSantis' low regard for Jesús makes clear his low regard for Jesus.

This is hardly the first time it's been made clear that evangelical leaders are concerned only with the vulgar pursuit of power, and that they choose their candidates based on that. There are many groups in American society for which that is true, of course, but at least most of them do not hypocritically pretend otherwise. (Z)

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