The Myopic Myth of Donald Trump – God’s ‘Chosen One’
CJ Werleman dissects a new poll showing that 39% of white evangelicals and 54% of white protestants believe the US President to be God’s chosen representative on Earth.
A slim majority of Americans now support Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, with a majority of the country also expressing strong disapproval of his overall performance.
Be it his naked corruption, flagrant dishonesty or malignant narcissism, the public seems to have had enough of his round-the-clock domination of the 24/7 news cycle. That is with two notable exceptions: white evangelical Christians and non-college educated whites.
The two voting blocs are largely synonymous, given that white evangelicals count as the least educated of all religious groups in the US. 60% of Trump’s coalition is made up of whites who haven’t attained a tertiary education.
Stubbornly loyal support for the most craven and racist occupant of the Oval Office from the country’s hyper-religious is one thing, but it’s another that many actually and astonishingly believe that Donald Trump is heaven sent to spread the word of God on Earth.
In an interview with Fox News this week, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he had told Trump: “Mr President, I know there are people that say, ‘y’know you said you were the chosen one’. And, I said ‘you were’.” Moments later, presenter Ed Henry told his audience: “Perry thinks at this moment and this time, Donald Trump was sent by God to do great things.”
Essentially, Perry told the President something Trump already believes to be true, having told reporters in August that he is indeed “the chosen one”.
The belief that this thrice-married and unrepentant adulterer, who boasts about sexually assaulting married women (“grab them by the pussy”), is actually God’s viceroy on Earth is more widely held than you might imagine, with a recent poll showing that 29% of white evangelicals and 53% of white Pentecostals hold this view.
“Going across the country talking to supporters of this President, they feel precisely the same way Rick Perry does,” said Fox and Friends host Peter Hegseth earlier this week.
These are the same people who believe former President Ronald Reagan to be a quasi-deity, despite him being a man who displayed an almost equal disregard for the truth, facts and intellectualism, having once claimed that trees cause more pollution than cars and praising apartheid South Africa for ending segregation at the height of the regime’s vicious discrimination against non-whites. But their slavish devotion to Trump is something altogether different – akin to the biblical story of Job, who remained loyal to Yahweh even after the Lord Almighty murdered his family and destroyed his livestock.
In dismantling the Affordable Care Act, choosing a trade war against China, removing regulations put in place to protect consumers and workers from corporate malfeasance, and passing a tax bill resulting in 87% of its benefits travelling to the top 1% of income earners, Trump has declared an economic war on the very people who believe he is God’s messenger.
Republican Party law-makers have repeatedly admitted that Trump’s tax cut was passed to satisfy super-wealthy party donors, with Chris Collins confessing in 2017 that “my donors are saying ‘get it done or don’t bother calling me again’”.
“While most working and middle-class families saw a temporary tax cut, the permanent tax cuts for corporations are paid for by permanent tax increases on the middle-class,” observes Market Watch. “But if middle-class families were getting any benefit from the tax bill, it’s likely been wiped out by the new costs that Trump is imposing on them through tariffs. Trump claims these tariffs are about helping workers. But, to the extent there is any coherent strategy behind them, they are aimed at helping large corporations secure even larger profits, not at increasing workers’ wages.”
To that end, Trump’s tariff increase on Chinese made goods has translated to an additional cost of $831 a year per American household. This is anything but a hidden tax on the working and middle-class but, like Job, there’s no amount of economic pain and discomfort that will sway evangelicals from abandoning their faith in their “chosen one”.
It also matters not that Trump has told nearly 14,000 documented lies and falsehoods since taking office, nor that nearly a dozen of non-partisan career diplomats have testified under oath about witnessing Trump’s abuse of the office of the presidency. It also doesn’t matter that he violated federal election laws in paying porn stars hush money to conceal his extramarital affairs from voters, defrauded those who donated to his charity and paid thousands of dollars to his illegally operated Trump University, praised neo-Nazis and white nationalists as “fine people”, pardoned war criminals guilty of murdering unarmed civilians, worships at the altars of crass self-aggrandisement and unbridled capitalism – all while coddling the rich and demonising the downtrodden.
It’s almost as though white evangelicals have never even heard of the New Testament, the book on which their spiritual beliefs are based. In the copy that resides on my bookshelf, Jesus loved the poor and disadvantaged, loathed the rich and powerful, and showed steadfast commitment to the “truth” and biblical laws – including those forbidding adultery, envy, murder, false testimony and theft.
If Trump is indeed the “chosen one” then maybe that explains why God does nothing to stop genocide, children dying from cancer, the poor dying from hunger, the planet from marching towards extinction and the New England Patriots from winning the Super Bowl.