Remember the now-infamous speech in 2016 where Trump bragged that he wouldn’t lose support even if he shot up people in the middle of Fifth Avenue? Well, The New York Times revealed the backstory behind that speech. And it shows just how twisted the religious right has become in the Trump era.
Trump was speaking at Dordt University, a Christian college in northwestern Iowa. While that now-infamous quote got most of the coverage, Trump said something else that made evangelicals sit up and take notice.
“I will tell you, Christianity is under tremendous siege, whether we want to talk about it or we don’t want to talk about it,” Mr. Trump said.
Christians make up the overwhelming majority of the country, he said. And then he slowed slightly to stress each next word: “And yet we don’t exert the power that we should have.”
If he were elected president, he promised, that would change. He raised a finger.
“Christianity will have power,” he said. “If I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power, you don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that.”
Wow. So in the same breath that Trump openly bragged that he could stage a mass shooting and not lose support, he talked about restoring Christianity to its supposed proper place in this country. This is one sick, sick, sick puppy.
And yet, according to the Old Grey Lady, the audience lapped it up. That night, Trump was speaking in one of the most rabidly fundified areas of the country. It’s made up mostly of Dutch-Americans who are deeply, deeply conservative on social issues. When they heard that speech, they didn’t hear a depraved lout. They heard someone who was saying he would stand up for them.
Ultimately Mr. Trump recognized something, said Lisa Burg, a longtime resident of nearby Orange City. It is a reason she thinks people will still support him in November.
“The one group of people that people felt like they could dis and mock and put down had become the Christian. Just the middle-class, middle-American Christians,” Ms. Burg said. “That was the one group left that you could just totally put down and call deplorable. And he recognized that, You know what? Yeah, it’s OK that we have our set of values, too. I think people finally said, ‘Yes, we finally have somebody that’s willing to say we’re not bad, we need to have a voice too.’”
If you’re wondering how the religious right could go all in for a guy who was caught on tape openly reveling about degrading women, here’s your answer. That says a lot about the religious right. And it isn’t good.