Friday, November 01, 2019


There was a laying on of hands at the White House on Tuesday.
Several faith leaders, including notable conservative Christian and evangelical pastors, held an informal meeting with President Trump at the White House this week....

Participants at the meeting included: Paula White Cain; former Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann; American Values President Gary Bauer; Dr. James Dobson; Free Chapel Senior Pastor Jentezen Franklin; Prestonwood Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jack Graham; First Baptist Dallas Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress; Harvest Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Greg Laurie; National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez; and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, among others.

One of the participants, televangelist Paula White-Cain (fun fact: she's the wife of Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain) has just started a job in the White House Office of Public Liaison. Her task, as The New York Times reports, "will be to advise the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, ... which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty and fighting poverty."

White-Cain is also on a book tour. She recently sat down with the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard, who tells us this:
Of all the projects real estate mogul Donald Trump wanted to build, here’s one that nobody saw.

According to his longtime personal pastor, Paula White-Cain, Trump in 2006 was taking steps to build a glass cathedral.

“He wanted to build a house of God,” she told us. “He said, ‘Let’s do this, let’s build this before we’re too old,’” said White-Cain....

Trump had an architect in place and was eager to have her take charge of the church, but White-Cain said the timing wasn’t right for her. At the time, her ministry was on nine TV networks, and she was heading to a divorce from her second husband in 2007.

She is now on a book tour, promoting her autobiography, Something Greater: Finding Triumph Over Trials.

Parts of her book discuss her 18-year friendship with Trump. “He is a Christian,” she said. But, she said, he’s quiet about it, not a Bible-quoter like former President Bill Clinton. “He doesn’t know ‘Christian-ese,’” she said, adding, “most people don’t.”
Is this even remotely plausible? White-Cain did buy a condo in Trump Tower more than a decade ago, around the time of her divorce from fellow preacher Randy White. At the time, she was pulling down a seven-figure salary; it's conceivable that she chatted up her landlord and he said some vague things about building her a church.

But what's up with all this Trump God-bothering all of a sudden?

Trump may be following the playbook of Bill Clinton during his impeachment process. Perhaps you remember this moment from September 1998:
President Clinton has chosen a circle of two or three ministers to serve as a team of personal spiritual advisers who will meet and pray with him weekly and help him resist what one of the ministers calls "the temptations that have conquered" the President in the past.

Mr. Clinton phoned the ministers and asked them for their help on Labor Day evening, as he and the nation were preparing for the report that Kenneth W. Starr delivered to Congress two days later concerning the President's relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky.

The ministers, the White House has confirmed, include two formidable evangelical preachers: the Rev. Tony Campolo, an outspoken liberal Baptist from Pennsylvania known for his ministry to urban youth and for controversial books advocating Christian acceptance of homosexuality, and the Rev. Gordon MacDonald, senior pastor of a nondenominational Christian church, Grace Chapel, in Lexington, Mass.

Since admitting a month ago that he had had an inappropriate relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton has been struggling to convince the American people that he seriously regrets it and is taking steps to repent and reform.
Clinton did that, obviously, to try to get back in the good graces of some of his supporters. But at the same time, Clinton also tried to appeal to the more secular among us by doing his job well.

Trump isn't even trying to do that. Where's his infrastructure plan? Where's the "phenomenal" healthcare plan he was promising us (again) as recently as two months ago? Where's the Middle East peace plan Jared was supposed to deliver? I know Trump isn't capable of fulfilling any of these promises, but you'd think there'd be something he could do, or at least propose, that might impress non-superfans, apart from that criminal justice reform bill, which was so clearly less than comprehensive it's literally called the First Step Act. But nothing.

And of course not. Trump doesn't want to be president of all the people -- he wants to be president of just the people who love him. This dovetails perfectly with the Republican governing philosophy, which says that non-conservatives aren't really Americans and aren't people whose interests have to be taken into consideration, as long as Republicans have gerrymandering, vote suppression, the Electoral College, and a far superior propaganda machine.

So Trump continues to court voters who are already 100% certain to pull the lever for him. The rest of us don't matter.

No comments: