To most of the reality-based world, Donald Trump disgraces himself and the presidency on almost a daily basis. But at least one group sees something entirely different coming out of the White House–the religious right. It’s partly because Trump tripped all over himself to kiss up to the nation’s so-called moral guardians during the campaign. He promised to give them everything they wanted on abortion, LGBT rights and their other pet issues.
The favor was returned early on, when the religious right stood by Trump in the midst of a national outcry over his degrading comments on the “Access Hollywood” tapes. Incredibly, they claimed that it didn’t really matter that Trump openly boasted that he could treat women any way he pleased because he was a celebrity.
For instance, Tony Perkins spoke for many fundies when he told Buzzfeed that he supported Trump because of “shared concerns” about the country’s direction–and his degrading behavior be hanged. Along similar lines, James Dobson claimed that what really mattered was ensuring that this country had a future–and we wouldn’t have one with Hillary Clinton in the White House.
With few exceptions, this line has continued unabated for the last two years. We got a lovely example of this on Monday night, when a gaggle of fundie leaders gathered at the White House to toast their relationship with Trump.
Most of the nation spent Monday convulsing in outrage over Trump’s petty treatment of the late Senator John McCain. But while that furor was unfolding, CBN White House correspondent David Brody revealed that Trump was planning a special gathering that night at the White House for his fundie friends.
Jeffress, a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, talked up the gathering on CBN News’ “Faith Nation” on Monday. Watch here.
Jeffress said that Trump is “very aware” of how loyal evangelicals have been to him. The reason for that loyalty is simple–as Jeffress put it, Trump is “the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, and pro-conservative judiciary president in history.” He added that Trump is very concerned about polls showing that the Democrats have a good chance of taking back the House, and believes Monday’s dinner will be “a great motivation” to get social conservatives to the polls.
With a setup like this, coupled with past history, the odds were pretty good that Trump and the fundies were going to find a number of ways to kiss up to each other. He, and they, didn’t disappoint. Watch Trump’s remarks at the dinner here.
The guest list was a virtual who’s-who among religious right leaders–over 100 of them, to be exact. Trump publicly singled out Jeffress, Perkins, Dobson, Paula White, Alveda King, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed, and Darrell Scott, among others.
In typical fashion, Trump boasted that he was the first president to address the March for Life from the Rose Garden, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also touted his efforts to roll back abortion rights. In a blatant attempt to kiss up to the gathered fundies, Trump declared that he stood up for people of faith because “faith and family” were “the center of American life.”
All told, Trump believed he had given the religious right “just about everything I promised.” And then some, apparently–one pastor reportedly told Trump, “Actually, you’ve given us much more, sir, than you promised.”
Trump then turned the podium over to White, his principal spiritual adviser. Right Wing Watch caught her remarks here.
White presented Trump with a Bible signed by all those in attendance. It contained an inscription which read, in part, “History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”
Let’s review some recent examples of that “greatness,” shall we? We’ve seen Trump throw longtime allies under the bus. We’ve seen him kiss the feet of dictators. We’ve seen him openly admit that several members of his campaign team met with Russians in Trump Tower to get dirt on Hillary. We’ve seen him call one of his former advisers, Omarosa, a “dog.”
We’ve seen him endorse blatant slut-shaming by his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. We’ve seen his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, admit under oath that he arranged hush money payments to women who had affairs with Trump in order to keep them quiet before the election–and that he arranged those payments under orders from Trump. And as mentioned earlier, we’ve seen Trump put his petty nature on full display when he couldn’t get over his feud with McCain long enough to honor his six decades of service to this country.
From where I’m sitting, White is right about one thing. History is going to record this for generations. The only problem is that it won’t be reckoned as greatness. It will be reckoned as a great embarrassment.
It will also record how so-called men and women of God were so fixated on social issues that they felt they had to kiss up to the most unfit and unqualified man to occupy the White House in recent memory.
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