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COMMENTARY

Far-Right White Evangelicals — Despite Impeachment and Ukraine Scandal — Still See Trump as ‘The Chosen One’

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In the 1980s, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater — who was considered an arch-conservative in his day — famously asserted that the Republican Party was making a huge mistake by embracing the Christian Right, which he described as a “terrible damn problem” for the conservative movement. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, enthusiastically welcomes the support of far-right white evangelicals — some of whom are declaring that the impeachment inquiry he is facing is against God’s will and that demonic forces are trying to remove the president from office.

On November 21, evangelist Franklin Graham (son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and a strident Trump supporter) discussed impeachment when he appeared on fellow wingnut Eric Metaxas’ radio show. Graham told Metaxas that it’s “almost a demonic power that is trying” to remove Trump from office — to which Metaxas responded, “I would disagree. It’s not almost demonic. You know and I know, at the heart, it’s a spiritual battle.”

When far-right evangelicals speak of a “spiritual battle,” they typically mean one between God and Satan — and clearly, Graham and Metaxas believe that Trump is working for God, while his political opponents are working for Satan.

Republican Rick Perry, secretary of energy in the Trump Administration and former governor of Texas, has also claimed that Trump is on a mission from God. Perry, during a recent appearance on Fox News, described Trump as “the chosen one” and claimed he has been “sent by God to do great things.”

Many of Trump’s critics have had a hard time understanding why he is so popular with the Christian Right, which wanted to see President Bill Clinton impeached in the late 1990s for having an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Trump, according to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had extramarital affairs with a porn star (Stormy Daniels) and a Playboy model (Karen McDougal) and paid them hush money to keep quiet. But the Christian Right is extremist tribalist in its thinking; so, even though Trump has never been especially religious (he’s a non-practicing Presbyterian) and former President Barack Obama has a long history of going to church, far-right white evangelicals view Trump as an ally and Obama as an enemy.

Related: Franklin Graham: Chick-fil-A CEO ‘Assured Me’ They Aren’t Changing Their Anti-LGBTQ Ways

Similarly, white Christian fundamentalists detest South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a churchgoing Episcopalian and Democratic presidential candidate who often talks about his faith. Buttigieg is obviously more religious than Trump, but he is a non-fundamentalist Mainline Protestant — and the Christian Right doesn’t see him as part of their tribe. In fact, the Christian Right view Obama and Buttigieg as infidels, not unlike Islamic fundamentalists who view non-jihadist Muslims as infidels.

Journalist Chris Hedges, a non-fundamentalist Christian who has written a lot about the role that faith can play in left-wing politics, uses the term “Christian fascists” to describe the Christian Right. Hedges considers the Christian Right a dangerous authoritarian movement, often stressing that Trump appeals to the Christian Right’s authoritarian tendencies.

Such tendencies were evident in October after the death of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who chaired the House Oversight Committee. Cummings was quite religious: his association with the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore spanned at least 40 years, and the Maryland Democrat would sing the Christian hymn “This Little Light of Mine” at civil rights marches. Yet some far-right evangelicals celebrated his death, insisting that God struck him down for opposing Trump.

Christian fundamentalist Stacey Shiflett, for example, said of Cummings, “Everything that he’s done has been nothing but trying to take this president out. I believe that God had had enough, and God moved.”

Hanna Selinger, in a November 26 article for The Independent, delves into the Christian Right’s unwavering adoration of Trump and explains why white Christian fundamentalists hold him in such high regard despite his not-so-Christian behavior.

“For evangelicals,” Selinger explains, “Donald Trump offers deliverables. The conservatives who follow the letter of the law when it comes to the Bible count among their most important issues ‘family values’: abortion, gay marriage, and so on. On these issues, Trump has offered a far-right tack. Despite who he actually is as a person, he checks the boxes — enabling evangelicals to look the other way and toward a perceived ‘greater good.’”

Christian Right voters, Selinger observes, “are willing to separate morals in a president from morals in a country. These voters will pull the lever for a man who prevaricates daily, who has had multiple wives and even more affairs. That’s because they believe that those characteristics outweigh the things they want done in Washington.”

Selinger adds, “Rick Perry is no different. He too is willing to overlook gross misconduct, of which he was part, simply because he likes the president’s policies.”

If a Democratic president had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political revival and made that investigation a condition of military aid, far-right theocrats like Graham, Perry, Metaxas and Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. would be demanding his impeachment. But because Trump become an honorary member of the Christian Right, he gets a pass.

The Christian Right, Selinger asserts, is unlikely to turn against Trump.

“This is the problem with Trump and his allies, and it begins with religion: what it means to follow God has been lost in a political game that places legislative wins over moral losses,” Selinger writes. “Will evangelicals ever see the light? As Rick Perry demonstrates in his ruthless sycophancy, the odds are slim.”

 

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COMMENTARY

Tucker Carlson Serves Up 12-Minute Long Homophobic Hate-Filled Rant Attacking Pete Buttigieg Over ‘Equity’

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Fox News is the most-watch cable “news” channel in America, and Tucker Carlson hosts the network’s most-watched show. Those are facts, and disturbing ones for the majority of Americans who do not watch the far right-wing extremist channel or its top personality.

Take, for instance, Carlson’s attack on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Thursday night, a 12-minute long homophobic, hate-filled rant with a focus on attacking the very core of Democratic and progressive ideals: the belief that everyone is equal and everyone deserves a chance at the American dream, and government is a means to help achieve those goals, goals literally written in the Declaration of Independence.

“Tucker Carlson brutally mocked Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg as an unqualified ‘kid’ who ‘breastfeeds, and has no business running the agency,” Mediaite reports.

Not the first time Carlson has attacked Buttigieg – and by extension, every LGBTQ person – for having children, being a responsible and loving parent who took time off from work, time off that is granted under federal law, to care for his newborn twins with his husband.

To Carlson, Buttigieg was chosen by the President of the United States only because he is gay, as part of some Democratic master plan to diminish or eradicate straight white men.

“Today the Transportation Department which is now run by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, finally told us,” Carlson told his right-wing viewers, “effective immediately we learned this country will undergo a quote, paradigm shift in the way we think about infrastructure. Now, hold on you’ve probably noticed by this point, the moment paradigms start shifting you can be certain a whole lot of people are about to get shafted. Nothing personal, it’s just the nature of paradigms. They don’t just shift. They tend to topple over and crush innocent bystanders.”

Those “innocent bystanders,” Carlson wants his viewers to think, are his viewers.

In reality, what Buttigieg and the Dept. of Transportation are saying, as evidenced by the very clips Carlson played in his monologue, is that the Transportation Dept. recognizes that every decision it makes has an impact on the climate and people. So they are working to make the more equitable – including making sure that decisions are fair to everyone, not just straight white men – and safer.

Carlson then literally attacked and mocked “the safety of our children and our families.”

That’s the massive “paradigm shift” Carlson is threatened by – well, he’s a multi-millionaire from a wealthy familky who may run for president at some point so he’s fine. He just wants his viewers to feel threatened by anyone who’s not white. Or not straight.

“Joe Biden hired a kid,” Carlson lied, “who had never had a real job outside McKinsey [Consulting] and no grounding of any kind in physical reality.”

Pete Buttigieg, as many people know, served in Afghanistan for the U.S. Navy, from 2009-2017, including in the Reserves, as a Lieutenant in a counterterrorism unit. He’s also a Harvard grad and a Rhodes Scholar. He’s worked on numerous political campaigns, and at McKinsey for three years.

He was also elected as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Twice.

Which Carlson quickly attacked.

“When Pete Buttigieg was mayor, the city had, and we’re quoting now, the worst pothole situation in the state according to the local paper. Huge potholes. So big that Mayor Pete – not a tall man – could’ve disappeared into one. You can picture his little legs up in the air. Eight years as mayor, and he was never able to fix it.”

He added, cackling, “This guy, who literally couldn’t fix the potholes in South Bend, Indiana, is now the transportation secretary. But he breastfeeds so it’s equity! It’s unbelievable!”

Carlson was far from done.

“The mindset is the problem here. And it’s not just Mayor Pete. He’s easy to mock because he’s a ludicrous figure. But it’s all the people like him who believe that our economy and is based on social media apps and HR departments.”

Watch:

 

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COMMENTARY

Fox News Host’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads to False Right-Wing Speculation Breyer Was Forced Out

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Barely minutes before 12:00 noon on Wednesday NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was going to announce he is retiring, at the end of the term.

Hours later Fox News host Shannon Bream breathlessly tweeted, “Multiple sources tell me Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today. They describe him as ‘upset’ with how this has played out. We still await any official notice from his office and/or the #SCOTUS public information office.”

That was 2:41 PM.

Her tweet was inaccurate – based on her own reporting, about a half-hour later.

At 3:14 PM Bream “clarified” her reporting, making clear that Justice Breyer “firmly decided” to retire on his own, and was merely “surprised” that a top-notch veteran Supreme Court reporter broke the news:

Her first tweet has received thousands of retweets and likes and led to false speculation among many right-wingers (adding to the already false claims from the far right) that President Joe Biden forced Justice Breyer out the door – something impossible (unless you do over a billion dollars in business with a bank where the son of a Supreme Court Justice works.)

Too late, the damage is done. Ordinarily many reporters will delete tweets that are inaccurate or wrong, then post the reason why, and a correction. Bream did not.

Related: Fox News Host Asks How We Can Tell ‘Bad Guys’ If We Can’t See ‘Tone Of Their Skin’?

Over at the right-wing National Review, senior writer Charles C. W. Cooke posted an article titled: “Did the Democratic Party Preempt Justice Breyer’s Announcement to Force His Hand?”

Its only content: Bream’s inaccurate tweet and the words, “It certainly seems possible.”

Here are more results of Bream’s inaccurate reporting:

Chief political correspondent, Washington Examiner and Fox News contributor Byron York:

Another Washington Times columnist and a SiriusXMPatriot personality:

Former senior advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

Blogger at right wing website Hot Air:

Radio talk show host:

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Watch: Trump Says He Will Be the ’47th President’ – Is He Skirting Federal Campaign Finance Law?

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In video posted Wednesday to Instagram Donald Trump appears to say he will be the “47th President,” which would indicate once again he has decided to run again.

That video (below) was also reported by the New York Post, which notes, “Trump hasn’t publicly said if he is planning to run for the White House again — but he has repeatedly teased a second campaign and has been holding rallies ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.”

The right wing PJ Media adds, “this might have been the ultimate Freudian slip,” and says it suggests a re-election campaign.

Trump has not officially announced he will run for several reasons, as Rolling Stone explained last October:

Trump very much seems like he is running for president in 2024, which according to campaign finance law should prohibit him from coordinating with super PACs like MAGAA, or his leadership PAC Save America, which together brought in north of $80 million in the first half of this year. Trump is able to coordinate with those PACs, though — and use their money to finance his travel, his campaign-style rallies, his God knows what else — because he hasn’t yet officially declared his candidacy. The former president is then, in essence, running what appears to be a shadow campaign designed to skirt campaign finance regulations while holding the still-distant race for the Republican nomination hostage.

“As long as Trump doesn’t explicitly announce he’s running for president,” Rolling Stone added, “he can essentially raise as much money as he wants from whomever he wants, and spend it unfettered by the restrictions or transparency requirements imposed upon actual candidates.”

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