On Saturday, in conversation with Muslim political commentator Dean Obeidallah, MSNBC's Joy Reid castigated evangelical conservatives for their silence on President Donald Trump anointing himself "the chosen one" and retweeting a radio host who compared him to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
"Dean, we reached out to a bunch of people," said Reid. "I wanted to know — I grew up in the church. The idea of somebody declaring themselves the next coming of God or the King of Israel, which is what the Romans used to belittle Jesus before they executed him for defying the Roman emperor — Now Trump saying it's a joke, it's apostasy. We reached out to Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed, Focus on the Family, Jerry Falwell Jr., Vice President Mike Pence, and the RNC. We got no response at all. We had Pat Robertson, who declined to comment."
"We did get one comment from somebody we asked whether this was okay with them," added Reid. "Robert Jeffress said, 'If I thought President Donald Trump was trying to equate himself with the only true Messiah, Jesus Christ, I would be the first to speak out. However, that's not what he's doing. Trump has been a friend of mine for four years and I can assure you he does not possess a Messiah complex. Although Wayne Root, the person he was retweeting, said his comments were hyperbolic, they accurately capture the enthusiasm Israelis have for President Trump. Every time I walk down the streets of Jerusalem, they stop me and thank me for my support of President Trump, referring to him as 'their president.' Regarding 'the chosen one' comment, anyone watching the video knows President Trump was speaking humorously about being the only president who has been willing to confront China about their unfair trade practices.'"
"The idea that even Robert Jeffress, in his defense of Trump, is still saying, essentially, that American Jews' real country is Israel. That in and of itself, if a Muslim said to them 'Donald Trump is just being loyal to Saudi Arabia,' which of course is your country, people would go crazy. So even in the defense — what is happening? Why is no one willing to have any integrity when it comes to Donald Trump?"
"Well if you ask those same people about Muslims, they will demonize us, because every single person you mentioned has a track record of dehumanizing Muslims," said Obeidallah. "For whatever reason, that plays to their base ... They're almost political figures at this point, not religious leaders. They have a constituency that gives them money to keep them in power. So you have the exact same dynamic of politics going on. The same reason you don't see elective Republicans standing up to Donald Trump."
"Where we're going, think about, people — right before we started the show, in 2016, Trump was accused of anti-Semitism for an ad with Hillary Clinton and the Jewish star and dollar sign," said Obeidallah. "At the time, Jared Kushner wrote an op-ed for the Observer, saying Donald Trump is not an anti-semite, not a racist, I know him well. This time even Jared Kushner is silent, Ivanka, his daughter is silent."
"There's no one defending him left, except the die-hard people who want Jesus to come back and who also want, more importantly, Christian Sharia law," said Obeidallah. "He is their vessel to impose the Bible, the idea of imposing the Bible. He's their Messiah. For Trump to look up to say he was chosen, he should look down. He might have been chosen, but not from an entity above."