The political world was thrown for a loop last Wednesday afternoon with news that Donald Trump’s second National Security Adviser, John Bolton, was set to level a potentially seismic allegation against his former boss. In his upcoming book, “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton claimed Trump offered Chinese strongman Xi Jinping a trade deal that sounded unseemly at best.
According to Bolton, when Trump and Xi had a one-on-one chat at the 2019 G-20 Summit, Trump suggested that if Xi bought more American soybeans and wheat, Washington would ease the tariffs imposed on Beijing. Supposedly, Trump told Xi that if China bought more American agricultural products, it would help Trump’s stocks in the Midwest.
If this is at all true, then this not only sounds like the definition of a quid pro quo, but would amount to the president of the United States asking a hostile foreign power to hack the election. And yet, when a pro-Trump pastor in California saw this, he dismissed it with what amounted to a shrug. His reasoning? Wait for it–it’s just another case of Trump’s foes willing to say and do anything to keep Trump from making America great again.
The religious right has made what can only be described as a Faustian deal with Trump. During the 2016 campaign, with Trump set to complete his hostile takeover of the GOP, he began making clucking noises that the religious right liked about abortion, marriage equality, and the courts. The nation’s so-called moral guardians liked this so much that they began telling their followers that it didn’t really matter if Trump was a boor and a bully. No, no–what really mattered was that Trump had told them he was going to make America Christian again.
One pastor who epitomizes this mentality is Shane Idleman, pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, California–in the High Desert north of Los Angeles. Idleman first turned heads in January when he claimed–with a straight face–that he supports Trump because he cares more about the nation’s character than Trump’s character. He would have us believe that those who roll their eyes at Trump’s outrages both in person and on Twitter don’t understand that Trump governs in a manner that honors God.
Um, Shane? On what planet is is possible to separate the character of a nation from the character of its leader? And how can we not ask if any good Trump is doing is so much that we must tolerate a man who behaves in a manner that would never be tolerated from the rest of us? Idleman’s logic sounds a lot like the logic the FBI used to justify crawling into bed with Whitey Bulger.
It was already clear that Idleman’s loyalty to Trump has overwhelmed his sense of basic decency. But any doubt of this should have been erased with a column he penned on Friday for Charisma magazine. Despite a lofty headline–“Bolton Book Bombshells: Can We Still Support Donald Trump?”–Idleman only mentioned Bolton’s name twice in the entire piece. It became apparent why with his casual dismissal of Bolton’s charges.
In my opinion, people like John Bolton were dead set against him from the get-go. Why are we surprised when things like this come out? Many are going to do whatever they can to remove President Trump. Mr. President, know that there are millions who support many of your policies. Hold the line.
Wait a minute. A former National Security Adviser levels charges of egregious, and possibly impeachable, misconduct against Trump, and they aren’t even worthy of discussion because Bolton was supposedly “dead set” against Trump from day one?
Bolton has been branded as a liberal and a deep stater in the pro-Trump media and on deplorable Twitter, a claim that is laughable given his hard-right street cred. But at least they have made some effort to set forth Bolton’s claims. Not Idleman. It’s been amply established that the Trump diehards have become almost tribal. But this is ridiculous.
Idleman’s casual wave-off of such serious charges seems particularly discordant given that during a November sermon in which he claimed that leadership matters. Watch a clip here.
Um, Shane? If leadership matters, then why be so cavalier in your response to a former National Security Adviser accusing the president of the United States of asking a hostile power to help him win reelection? Sounds like you’re dead set against listening to anything that even hints at tarnishing the orange god you made.
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