‘Don’t ever preach to me again!’: Ex-GOP chair tells evangelicals who still support Trump to ‘shut the hell up!’ (Raw Story link): Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele blasted Family Research Council president Tony Perkins for giving President Donald Trump a “mulligan” on paying hush money to former adult film star.
“When it comes down to giving Trump a pass, some top evangelical leaders are turning a blind eye to his past discretions and came to his defense following recent reports about his alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels,” news host Chris Matthews explained.
“I have very simple admonition: just shut the hell up and don’t preach to me about anything ever again,” Steele suggested.
“After telling me who to love, what to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes don’t matter, the grabbing the you-know-what doesn’t matter, the outright behavior and lies don’t matter, just shut up!” Steele blasted.
“They have no voice of authority anymore for me,” Steele concluded.
“It is preposterous to assert that a virtuous believer like Mr. Trump would cheat on his beautiful wife so callously, and while their child was only months old,” a solemn Bakker said into the camera as colorful balloons provided a backdrop for some reason.
“He was so concerned with the eternal state of Miss Daniels’ soul that he scheduled some alone time with just the two of them, so he could share with her how Jesus Christ had changed his life and how He could also save her from her sins.”
Nearly choking up with tears, Bakker went on to explain how much he loves and looks up to Trump as a model saint.
“Our president even arranged through his attorney to give this woman $130,000 in an attempt to help rescue her from the destructive adult film industry and get her life back on track. What a man of God!”
The televangelist ended his broadcast by wagering that there were probably “many, many more” sex-industry workers like Daniels who could tell a similarly inspiring story about President Trump.
Graham was Richard Nixon’s golfing buddy and spiritual adviser. He was there to pray with Nixon after every victory and loss. And Nixon consulted him on everything from his vice presidential pick to the conduct of the Vietnam War.
It must have been a heady experience. “Nixon showed his friendliness to me in many personal ways,” Graham later recalled. “He came to our home on the mountain. He often referred to the pineapple tea my mother served him when he visited her. ... In our games of golf together, he was always willing to coach me. ... He remembered birthdays.” In Graham’s view, Nixon was “a modest and moral man with spiritual sensitivity.” He “held such noble standards of ethics and morality for the nation.”
Graham was in denial about Watergate until the last. When he finally read through the Watergate tape transcripts—including profanity, political corruption, lying, racism and sexism—Graham remembers becoming physically ill. He said later of Nixon: “I wonder whether I might have exaggerated his spirituality in my own mind.” Graham’s biographer William Martin quotes a close Graham associate who is more blunt: “For the life of me, I honestly believe that after all these years, Billy still has no idea of how badly Nixon snookered him.”
We can now look back on such gullibility with nostalgia. Billy Graham had the alibi of self-deception. But Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress and Donald Trump’s other evangelical advocates have no such excuse. They have made their political bargain with open eyes.
Trump has made profanity an unavoidable part of our political culture. He is in the midst of a gathering corruption scandal that has left close aides under indictment. He tells repeated and obvious lies. He incites ethnic and racial resentment as a political strategy and was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. Add to this something that could never be said of Nixon: The credible accusation that Trump paid hush money to a porn star to cover up an affair.
And what is Franklin Graham’s reaction? “We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this nation and he is not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians whether it’s here at home or around the world, and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”
“A concern for Christian values.” I imagine there is considerable presidential stroking behind such a pronouncement—the current equivalent of remembering birthdays and pineapple tea. But Graham’s argument is as crudely political as it gets. Since Trump has delivered the goods on protecting Christians, evangelicals should give him the benefit of every doubt on moral matters, even when such doubts are absurdly transparent ploys.
The level of cynicism here is startling. Some Christian leaders are surrendering the idea that character matters in public life in direct exchange for political benefits to Christians themselves. It is a political maneuver indistinguishable from those performed by business or union lobbyists every day. Only seedier. You scratch my back, I’ll wink at dehumanization and Stormy Daniels. The gag reflex is entirely gone.
But that is not a reason to become sycophants, cheerleaders and enablers. Politics sometimes presents difficult choices. But that is not an excuse to be the most easily manipulated group in American politics.
The problem, however, runs deeper. Trump’s court evangelicals have become active participants in the moral deregulation of our political life. Never mind whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is of good repute.
Some evangelicals are busy erasing bright lines and destroying moral landmarks. In the process, they are associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.
Not long after Watergate broke, a chastened Billy Graham addressed a conference in Switzerland, warning that an evangelist should be careful not “to identify the Gospel with any one particular political program or culture,” and adding, “this has been my own danger.” The danger endures.
The title is a result of the invocation of the little-known 28th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states: “A consort of the President who is a sex worker and not otherwise bound to him shall be known as First Concubine, or by whatever is the most appropriate parlance of the day.”
Though the role comes without a federal salary, Daniels can use the title when on tour, receive Secret Service protection, and, per local protocol, enjoy full diplomatic status anytime she visits France.
French President Emmanuel Macron was the first international leader to convey his nation’s congratulations: “We French have always had a relaxed attitude towards the infidelities of our leaders and mocked you Americans for being so uptight about it. But clearly you have relaxed. Boy how you have relaxed.”
Vladimir Putin also sent his best wishes directly to the First Pornstar:“I have enjoyed the tapes I have of you so much, just as I enjoy all my tapes featuring the current President of the United States.”
Mod: OK, so here's one thing that I am pretty certain about. Donald Trump is not what your mom and dad might have called a conservative.