Yesterday, 900-plus evangelicals met with Donald Trump to ask questions and try to figure out if they can support his candidacy. I know only some of the names of individuals who were present. The audience was mixed, I’m sure, in its attitude toward the presumptive Republican nominee.
I don’t wish to unfairly criticize those who attended; in most circumstances, I too would want to have the opportunity to hear a candidate and get a better feel for him/her. Neither am I disdainful of any attempt to try to influence a candidate toward policies that I would favor as a Christian.
In most circumstances.
But this is not a typical circumstance, and the candidate is not typical either. I have followed Trump very carefully through the entire primary process, watching his manner and listening to his words. Based on what I already know about him from personal observation and a significant amount of reading with respect to his past, his business dealings, and his overall character, I would not have attended this meeting if invited.
Let me be clear: I was not invited.
There were Christian leaders there for whom I have great respect. Others present were ones for whom I have lost some respect due to their eagerness to jump on the Trump train and for their rather critical attitude toward those of us who are never going to join this misbegotten candidacy.
I have spilled thousands of words in this blog explaining my objections to Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. Let me summarize why I cannot support him.
First, his personal character is abhorrent: self-centered, vindictive toward those who criticize him, petty, insulting, willing to lower himself into whatever gutter is nearby to destroy others. His divorces and his overall arrogance toward women is another factor; the remarks he makes about women (take Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz, for example) are always focused on their looks. For him, that’s the measure of a woman’s worth.
He continues to think Planned Parenthood isn’t all that bad; he attacks the judge in the Trump University lawsuit (a clearly fraudulent university) because of his Mexican heritage; he cavalierly retweets comments from racist supporters; he expects American troops to follow his orders even if they involve the killing of women and children of the enemy; and he is a conspiracy nut, culminating in the bizarre idea that Ted Cruz’s father is somehow implicated in the JFK assassination.
His supporters within the Republican party are constantly having to say they don’t agree with his tirades; some are saying they just won’t comment on him anymore until after the election, since they are so embarrassed by him.
He is truly a loose cannon; one never knows what to expect next. Well, that’s not exactly true—it’s clear he’s going to continue to be a national embarrassment.
Those are my bedrock reasons for rejecting his candidacy, but those form the cornerstone for why his campaign is now such a wreck. He has no ground game ready to go; his fundraising has been nonexistent and the campaign is running on fumes financially; a lot of the money he has spent has gone to his own salary and other Trump organizations; he thinks he can just hold rallies and win the presidency; he is slated to lose big, and he will drag the party down with him, possibly losing both houses of Congress in the process.
To fix this, he fires his campaign manager. Now everything’s going to be fine, he promises. But who is really driving the campaign? There’s little an underling can do to redirect The Donald.
He has become so poisonous to the party that a new threat to his nomination is bubbling: an attempt to deny him the necessary votes at the convention. His actions have pretty much destroyed Republican party unity:
So add to moral degenerate the appellation of incompetent.
And I haven’t even addressed the problem of his knowledge of issues, a deficit that led him to avoid a direct debate confrontation with Cruz one-on-one. He would have been massacred intellectually.
David French wrote an excellent piece a couple of days ago as this meeting with evangelicals loomed. It is an appeal we need to hear and heed:
American Evangelical Christianity does not exist for the purpose of placing one or two decent judges on the Supreme Court. It — along with its Catholic and Orthodox counterparts — represents the body of Christ on this earth. It is a flawed vessel, to be sure, but its moral witness is still of incalculable worth.
He concluded the article with this warning:
Evangelical leaders: If you back Trump, for the rest of your days, you will be forced to live with having had a hand in fracturing our nation on the basis of race, discarding the sanctity of marriage, and scorning honesty itself — all for the chance, the remote chance, that Trump will make one or two decent Supreme Court picks. You will be selling your integrity for the most meager of returns. . . .
Christians have had to take tougher stands in darker times before. They do so in other nations today. This decision, by contrast, should be easy. Trump is not worth your consideration or even one moment of your time. Let others bend the knee.
But . . . but . . . that means a Hillary presidency! Let’s be honest, it’s probably going to be a Hillary presidency anyway. Republicans have chosen the absolute worst nominee available; a number of others who were on the stages with Trump would have been locks to put away the worst Democrat candidate in that party’s history. Choosing Trump has now made that unlikely.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: don’t blame those who cannot, in conscience, support Donald Trump. The blame for this upcoming fiasco lies in the laps of those who became lapdogs for Trump.
Christians, to maintain their witness to the world of integrity, honesty, and moral character, should walk away from Trump. If they don’t, they will forever be linked to his sordid legacy.