For almost three years, the religious right has been pushing a false narrative about Donald Trump. Even in the face of the almost daily outrages from the Trump White House, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have tried to convince us that God’s hand is on Trump–so therefore, we should get behind him. We got a lovely example of this false narrative from one of Trump’s loudest evangelical cheerleaders. He’d have us believe that Trump isn’t really the boor we see on TV and social media. Nope, supposedly Trump is genuinely a decent guy deep down inside.
For some time, Steve Strang, founder and publisher of Charisma magazine, has used his platform as one of the most prominent publishers in the evangelical world to carry water for the right. But he’s taken it to another level in the Trump era. He been on the front lines of the religious right’s effort to bully evangelicals into remaining loyal to Trump.
As part of that effort, he has written two books singing Trump’s praises. The first, “God and Donald Trump,” written in 2017, argues that Trump’s upset victory was nothing short of a miracle. The second, “Trump Aftershock,” tries to detail the ways Trump is winning for America from a Christian perspective.
But those aren’t the only ways Strang has bent over backwards to defend Trump. He has argued that demons are driving the opposition to Trump and slammed Democrats as godless. For good measure, he even came to Trump’s defense after The New York Times exposed his role in a massive tax fraud engineered by his family.
Well, add another example to the list. In his latest column for Charisma, Strang claims–with a straight face–that Trump isn’t really the crass, bullying troll portrayed on Twitter.
Strang was promoting his third paean to Trump, “God, Trump and the 2020 Election,” due out later this month. He claims that behind Trump’s “bombastic persona” lies “a genuinely nice man”–one who “generates fierce loyalty” because of how he cares for people.
Strang recalled that when he sat down for an interview with Trump in 2016, he was “soft-spoken and respectful,” and was fully focused on Strang’s questions–a sharp contrast to his interview with George W. Bush in 2004. Trump even offered Strang some water, even though he didn’t have to do so.
Strang went further in his “Strang Report” podcast. Listen here.
Strang claimed that Trump is very “winsome” and “funny” at his rallies, and “relates to the crowd.” He noted that while he doesn’t know Trump personally, he has spoken with a number of people who do know him personally–and they say he is a very nice and very genuine man.
You’ll have to pardon us if we have a hard time believing you, Steve. After all, if Trump was truly a “genuinely nice man,” would he have willfully and knowingly called two Jews, a Latina, two blacks and an Arab “savages”? Not likely. And later on, would he have called one of those Jews “human scum”? Definitely not.
If Trump really was a “genuinely nice man,” would he have called two women who crossed him “dog” and “horseface”? Would he have condoned slut-shaming from his personal legal team? Or applauded a congressman for body-slamming a reporter at one of those rallies where he is so “winsome” and “funny”? Or even hinted at bombing an adversary’s cultural heritage sites? And on, and on, and on.
Granted, Strang isn’t quite as maudlin and mawkish as he has been in previous efforts to sing Trump’s praises in print and online. But if he expects us to believe that the boor and bully we’ve seen on Twitter isn’t the real Trump, he’s even further removed from reality than initially thought. Indeed, in light of Trump’s own words and tweets, Strang’s insistence that Trump is a “genuinely nice man” amounts to a level of alternative facting that would do Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders proud.
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