When the history books are written about the Donald Trump era, one of the most bewildering anecdotes will be how the religious right continued to support him even in the face of his almost daily outrages. Apparently ending abortion, rolling back marriage equality, and appointing conservative justices are so important to the nation’s so-called moral guardians that they are willing to support a man who revels in degrading women, condones violence and has revealed himself to be a stone cold racist and anti-Semite.
Apparently nothing is enough to shake that support–not even the lengths Trump went to get Ukraine to get dirt on one of his potential rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden. In so doing, Trump breached one of the most sacred trusts in any democracy–that an elected official will not use the power of his office to bully and intimidate a political rival.
But such ham-handed behavior seems to be perfectly acceptable to the religious right. For instance, if you believe rabidly pro-Trump prophet Hank Kunneman, any attempt to hold Trump to account could actually boomerang back on the Democrats and result in Trump being exonerated. Never mind that God supposedly told Kunneman this in May–and since then, the only person to have been hit with a boomerang is Trump.
And if you believe Franklin Graham, the Democrats are the ones leading the country down a dark road.
So holding Trump to account for a ham-handed abuse of power is taking the country down a “dangerous road,” Franklin?
Well, on Tuesday, another religious right leader saw fit to go all-in for Trump. Namely, American Family Radio afternoon drive-time host Bryan Fischer. He openly declared that this country needs another wall in addition to that effing wall on the Mexican border–a stone wall around Trump and his family. And from where he’s sitting, evangelicals are the ones to build it.
Fischer crassly declared that Trump would likely not have pulled off his double inside straight upset of Hillary Clinton if 81 percent of evangelicals hadn’t voted for him. He maintained that if evangelicals close ranks around Trump, “there’s not a chance” of Trump being impeached and removed. Evangelicals, he said, are Trump’s “stone wall”–and as long as they rally behind him, Trump will survive.
So Fischer is effectively calling for people of faith to build a stone wall around a man who had no qualms about asking a foreign government to get dirt on a political rival. In so doing, Fischer is effectively asking people of faith to excuse one of the most ham-handed abuses of power on record.
Fischer is telling the truth about one thing. In all likelihood, had the religious right abandoned Trump in the wake of the Access Hollywood tapes, it would have been the end of the Trump campaign. But Fischer and his compatriots were so determined to stop their pet hate, Hillary, from getting into the White House that they were willing to go all in for a man who publicly reveled in degrading women.
Moreover, they have continued to support a man who has no qualms about calling women “dog” and “horseface,” stands there and watches while his supporters direct racist chants at his foes, and himself has no qualms about calling a Latina, two blacks, an Arab and two Jews “savages.” So it’s not too big of a leap to call for the building of a “stone wall” around a man who finds it acceptable to use the power of his office in this way.
But that doesn’t make it any less staggering. And it won’t make the verdict of history any less harsh on Fischer and other fundies who have bowed down to Trump.
As I write this on Wednesday night, Trump’s average approval rating, as calculated by FiveThirtyEight, stands at 41.3 percent–absolutely brutal by any standard. He has never been too far north of 43 percent in that average. Even more ominously for Trump, FiveThirtyEight discovered an unmistakable trend in favor of impeachment once the Ukraine call scandal broke in full.
At the rate it’s trending, it may not matter what Fischer and evangelicals think. As more and more evidence dribbles out, it could potentially be enough to over-top that stone wall.
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