As Donald Trump’s administration continues its spiral into chaos — buffeted by Justice Department investigations and a government shutdown that is angering Democrats and Republicans alike — the embattled president is increasingly seeking help and solace from evangelicals who have refused to abandon him no matter what his sins.
According to a report in the Guardian, the president and evangelical Christians are shoring each other up against their perceived enemies — with Trump increasingly counting on them as a major part of his unwavering base.
What makes Trump attractive despite his many un-Christian faults is his choice of close aides who are deeply immersed in Christian nationalism and a belief in the “end times.”
“In setting out the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, one of the first things Mike Pompeo made clear to his audience in Cairo is that he had come to the region as ‘as an evangelical Christian,'” the Guardian’s Julian Borger reports.
Noting that Pompeo, when he was a congressman once told the congregants at a Wichita church, “It is a never-ending struggle … until the rapture. Be part of it. Be in the fight,” Borger writes, “For Pompeo’s audience, the rapture invoked an apocalyptical Christian vision of the future, a final battle between good and evil, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when the faithful will ascend to heaven and the rest will go to hell.”
Elevating Pompeo to Secretary of State, combined with heart-on-his-sleeve Christian Mike Pence as his vice presidential pick, has endeared Trump to evangelicals who are willing to accept Trump’s imperfections.
“Trump himself embodies the very opposite of a pious Christian ideal. Trump is not churchgoer. He is profane, twice divorced, who has boasted of sexually assaulting women. But white evangelicals have embraced him,” the Guardian reports, before adding, “Trump’s choice of Pence as a running mate was a gesture of his commitment, and four of the six preachers at his inauguration were evangelicals, including White and Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the preacher Billy Graham, who defended Trump through his many sex scandals, pointing out: ‘We are all sinners.'”
In his time of need, Trump has turned to evangelicals for support for his reeling administration wall, with Borger writing, “Having lost control of the House of Representatives in November, and under ever closer scrutiny for his campaign’s links to the Kremlin, Trump’s instinct has been to cleave ever closer to his most loyal supporters.”
“Almost alone among major demographic groups, white evangelicals are overwhelmingly in favour of Trump’s border wall, which some preachers equate with fortifications in the Bible,” he continued.
According to Katherine Stewart who writes about the Christian right, Trump and his wall are naturals for militant evangelicals.
“The Christian nationalist movement is characterized by feelings of persecution and, to some degree, paranoia – a clear example is the idea that there is somehow a ‘war on Christmas’,” Stewart explained. “People in those positions will often go for authoritarian leaders who will do whatever is necessary to fight for their cause.”
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