Billy Graham had to learn the hard way that getting too close to unfit politicians has a price. He nearly lost the goodwill he had gained over two decades by getting too close to Richard Nixon. To the day he died in 2018, Graham père remained, with few exceptions, decidedly apolitical.
Unfortunately, his son, Franklin, must have missed those lessons. In recent years, Franklin has used his father’s legacy to become a major water-carrier for the religious right. He has become almost as willing to peddle alternative facts as Jim Bakker, Lance Wallnau, Rick Joyner, Paula White and other generals in the Trumpvangelical Army.
If there was any doubt that Graham fils is using and abusing his father’s legacy to serve the interests of the religious right, it was erased on Wednesday. While leading a number of crusades in Australia, Graham fils fired off a message to his Facebook and Twitter followers.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Graham fils has essentially whined, “Leave President Trump alone!” If you’ll remember, late last month Graham fils said–with a straight face–that when the media calls out Trump’s outrages, it’s merely throwing “dirt clods” at him.
But this latest rant is even more breathtaking, considering the timing. Remember, this came a mere five days after Trump’s bizarre, word salad-laden announcement of a national emergency in order to secure funding for a wall along the southern border. The most infamous moment of that speech came when Trump admitted that he didn’t need to declare an emergency, but just wanted a wall built faster.
However, there were quite a few other cringe-worthy moments as well. He started his remarks with a meandering monologue about trade deals and North Korea. And of course, as is standard issue with Trump speeches, he spewed a number of misleading and outright false statements.
Riddle me this, Franklin. It’s hard to believe you didn’t watch at least part of this even that some point. If you did, how could you say with a straight face that “nothing is gained” by asking questions about his fitness for office?
There are, of course, other examples that prove Graham fils’ assertion is tone-deaf at best and willfully ignorant at worst. Indeed, there are far too many to count. But let’s point out some of the most egregious recent anecdotes.
Back in October, while campaigning for Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, Trump openly praised Gianforte for bodyslamming a reporter in 2017–and then mimicked someone doing a body slam, to thunderous applause. No, this isn’t snark. Watch here.
This is but one of many times, both as a candidate and as president, that Trump has openly condoned violence. So Franklin, how can you say that “nothing is gained” by wondering if a man who condones this behavior is fit for office?
And just last month, Trump got the bright idea to publicly disclose Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to lead a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan. Even if you accept the argument that Pelosi should have stayed in Washington to find a way to end the shutdown, there’s a reason that VIP trips to a war zone are supposed to be secret.
By disclosing them, Trump willfully and recklessly put Pelosi in danger. So again I ask, Franklin–how can you say that “nothing is gained” by wondering if a president who finds this remotely acceptable is fit for office?
And just this weekend, Trump seemed to shrug off growing outrage over Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s role in a controversial plea deal he reached with financier and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein while Acosta was U. S. Attorney in Miami. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Acosta and his team broke the law when they didn’t tell his victims about a deal in which Epstein pled guilty to state prostitution charges in return for just 13 months in jail.
By the close of business on Friday, there were widespread calls for Trump to fire Acosta. What was Trump’s response?
Not a word about the victims. Just praise for the “great job” Acosta is doing, and worries about how long ago this case was. How can anyone even suggest that “nothing is gained” when wondering a man who seems so lacking in empathy and basic humanity is fit for office?
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. The point is that there is ample evidence in the public record that suggests it would be grossly derelict not to ask whether Trump is fit for office. If Graham fils believes that “nothing is gained” by asking such questions, then there can be no doubt–he has hitched his wagon to Trump.
If and when Trump ultimately goes down, Graham fils risks destroying what is left of his own legacy, and potentially imperiling his father’s legacy. If that happens, he will have only himself to blame.
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