Donald Trump is easily the most unfit and unqualified person to occupy the White House in recent memory. Indeed, a number of historians have already begun drawing parallels between Trump and other presidents who are universally considered among the worst in the country’s history. For instance, in 2019, the Siena College Research Institute rated Trump as the third-worst president ever, ahead of only Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan. A year earlier, the American Political Science Association ranked Trump dead last.
But one of Trump’s staunchest defenders on the religious right thinks that all of those knocking Trump have it all wrong. He thinks that Trump doesn’t belong in the company of the likes of Buchanan, Johnson, or Warren Harding–the presidents who are almost universally ranked among the worst in the country’s history. Rather, he’d have us believe that Trump deserves to be in the same company as–wait for it–Winston Churchill.
Steve Strang, founder and publisher of Charisma magazine, has established himself as one of Trump’s most ardent evangelical supporters. But in so doing, he has churned out alternative facts with a frequency that would make the likes of Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders blush.
This is a man who defended a massive tax fraud orchestrated by Trump and his siblings as something any person would do when faced with such unfair tax laws. This is a man who believed Trump was impeached not because he tried to use the power of his office to bully and intimidate a rival, but because those mean old Democrats just didn’t like him. This is a man who would like us to believe Trump is providing this country “great leadership” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Strang, like most of Trump’s fundie supporters, believes that Trump’s upset victory in 2016 was nothing short of a miracle. He also believes that if Biden defeats Trump later this year, it could portend disaster. Earlier this month, he used his podcast to promote a documentary produced by Paul Crouch Jr.–son of late Christian television mogul Paul Crouch Sr.–which claimed to detail the glories that await a Trump reelection and the disasters that await a Trump defeat. Listen here.
As of this writing, Trump’s support among white evangelicals remains at otherworldly levels even as his overall approval numbers are in a death spiral. This is because Trump’s most diehard fundie supporters live in a bubble where paeans like this by Strang are part of the daily diet. In this world, Trump regularly draws parallels to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.
In other words, Trump’s fundie supporters aren’t just living in a world of alternative facts. They’re living in an alternative universe. But even allowing for this, Strang’s recent column in Charisma News is completely removed from reality. After the usual shibboleth about how Trump’s critics are so fixated on his faults that they can’t see the good he’s done, Strang claimed–with a straight face–that there are a lot of parallels between Trump and Churchill.
Strang noted that Churchill was clearly “the right man at the right time to be used by God” in order to lead the United Kingdom to victory over the Nazis. However, Strang claimed that Churchill’s detractors attacked him in the same manner that Trump’s detractors are attacking him now. According to “God and Churchill,” co-authored by Churchill’s great-grandson Jonathan Sandys and longtime pastor Wallace Henley, Churchill was derided as “an undeniable cad,” and many bigshots in his own Conservative Party saw him as “an embarrassment.” He was also criticized for being unwilling to “count the cost of his endeavors.”
According to Sandys, Churchill believed he had a calling from God himself to save Western civilization from the Nazi scourge. To Strang’s mind, Churchill is proof that “God uses whomever He chooses.” Just like Churchill, Strang argues, Trump gets pilloried for warning about threats to our nation’s society. And like Churchill, Strang argues, Trump’s opponents want to stop him from “speaking from the heart” about those threats.
Any serious student of history looking at this effort to see parallels between one of the great statesmen of our time and Trump can be pardoned for laughing. For one thing, Churchill knew that defeating Hitler required a truly unified country, and he included a number of prominent figures from the Labour Party in his cabinet. Trump, in contrast, has long since dropped any pretense of reaching across the aisle. Indeed, his entire campaign has been focused on tossing red meat to his most diehard supporters.
Additionally, Churchill, unlike Trump, was able to withstand constructive criticism. This was no doubt a product of his roots in the military. Trump, on the other hand, has shown time and again that he simply can’t bear to be criticized. That’s to be expected from a man who has never worked for anyone unrelated to him.
Simply put, Trump is not fit to shine Churchill’s shoes. Any attempt to draw any parallels between the two is nothing short of comical. Or, at least, it would be to anyone in the reality-based world.
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