Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.
Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”
“In the minds of a lot of conservatives, the left exists to impugn their motives, and the Republican Party regularly lied to them and said they would defend them and then didn’t,” Howe said. “And that was the establishment. Trump became their hero, because he hated the establishment, and he beat up on the media, and he was fighting back against all these forces. The more he fights, the more they feel justified, like, He’s our hero because we needed someone to do this for us.”
Howe warned that evangelicals embrace Trump at their own peril, suggesting they’re “[making] a short-term decision that can have long-term detrimental consequences.” He warned that evangelical Christians who support Trump because of the president’s pledge to appoint pro-life judges are “harming [their] cause.”
“Trump will affect the way the culture views abortion and views conservatism,” Howe said. “As a Trump-supporting pro-lifer, can I convince anyone that abortion is wrong? He makes it more difficult.”
Howe also said Trump’s reign in the White House has made him “like” former President Barack Obama.
“Between Trump and Obama, there is just no question that Obama exhibited more Christian behavior,” he said. “… I have to say it: Trump has made me like Obama.”