Trump blasts Chris­tian mag­a­zine that called for his re­moval

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Elana Schor and Jill Colvin

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blasted a prom­i­nent Chris­tian mag­a­zine on Fri­day, a day af­ter it pub­lished an edi­to­rial ar­gu­ing that he should be re­moved from of­fice be­cause of his “black­ened moral record.”

Trump tweeted that Chris­tian­ity To­day, an evan­gel­i­cal mag­a­zine founded by the late Rev. Billy Gra­ham, “would rather have a Rad­i­cal Left non­be­liever, who wants to take your re­li­gion & your guns, than Don­ald Trump as your Pres­i­dent.”

The mag­a­zine “has been do­ing poorly and hasn’t been in­volved with the Billy Gra­ham fam­ily for many years,” Trump wrote. He later ques­tioned whether the mag­a­zine would pre­fer a Demo­cratic pres­i­dent “to guard their re­li­gion.”

Some of his strong­est evan­gel­i­cal sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing Gra­ham’s son, ral­lied to his side and against the pub­li­ca­tion. Their push­back un­der­scored Trump’s hold on the evan­gel­i­cal vot­ing bloc that helped pro­pel him into of­fice and sug­gested the edi­to­rial would likely do lit­tle to shake that group’s loy­alty.

Rev. Franklin Gra­ham, who now leads the Billy Gra­ham Evan­ge­lis­tic As­so­ci­a­tion and prayed at Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, tweeted Fri­day that his fa­ther would be “disap

pointed” in the mag­a­zine. Gra­ham added that he “felt it nec­es­sary” fol­low­ing the edi­to­rial to share that his fa­ther, who died last year af­ter coun­sel­ing sev­eral past pres­i­dents, voted for Trump. The pres­i­dent thanked Gra­ham for the dis­clo­sure.

Chris­tian­ity To­day “rep­re­sents what I would call the left­ist elite within the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity. They cer­tainly don’t rep­re­sent the Bi­ble-be­liev­ing seg­ment of the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity,” Gra­ham told The As­so­ci­ated Press in an in­ter­view. He wrote on Face­book: “Is Pres­i­dent Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past pres­i­dents and as each one of us are, in­clud­ing my­self.”

The mag­a­zine’s cir­cu­la­tion is es­ti­mated at 130,000. In the edi­to­rial ti­tled “Trump Should Be Re­moved from Of­fice,” Ed­i­torin-Chief Mark Galli wrote that Democrats “have had it out for” the pres­i­dent since he took of­fice.

But Galli as­serted that the facts “are un­am­bigu­ous” when it comes to the acts that led to the pres­i­dent’s im­peach­ment this week by the Demo­crat­ic­con­trolled House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Trump “at­tempted to use his po­lit­i­cal power to co­erce a for­eign leader to ha­rass and dis­credit one of the pres­i­dent’s po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents,” Galli wrote, re­fer­ring to for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den. “That is not only a vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion; more im­por­tantly, it is pro­foundly im­moral.”

The schism among Chris­tians about Trump dates back to be­fore his elec­tion. Prom­i­nent South­ern Bap­tist Rus­sell Moore warned that Trump “in­cites di­vi­sion” in a 2015 op-ed. The es­say cited the Bi­ble in ask­ing fel­low Chris­tians to “count the cost of fol­low­ing” him. It later earned a tweeted lash­ing from then­can­di­date Trump.

Af­ter Trump de­fended the or­ga­niz­ers of a 2017 white na­tion­al­ist rally that turned vi­o­lent in Char­lottesvill­e, Vir­ginia, one mem­ber of his evan­gel­i­cal ad­vi­sory board stepped down, cit­ing “a deep­en­ing con­flict in val­ues be­tween my­self and the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

But no such break has oc­curred be­tween the pres­i­dent and the core of his evan­gel­i­cal base. Trump is deeply pop­u­lar among white evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tants, with roughly 8 in 10 say­ing they ap­prove of the way he is han­dling his job, ac­cord­ing to a De­cem­ber poll from The AP-NORC Cen­ter.

Many prom­i­nent evan­gel­i­cals have only in­ten­si­fied their sup­port for Trump as Democrats moved to im­peach him, cir­cling the wag­ons de­spite Trump’s per­sonal his­tory, which in­cludes mul­ti­ple al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct, deeply di­vi­sive poli­cies and pro­fan­ity laced com­ments.

At the heart of that back­ing is what pro-Trump evan­gel­i­cals view as the pres­i­dent’s sig­nif­i­cant record of achieve­ment on their high­est pri­or­i­ties, such as his suc­cess­ful in­stal­la­tion of more than 150 con­ser­va­tive fed­eral judges and his sup­port for an­tiabor­tion poli­cies.

“No Pres­i­dent has done more for the Evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity, and it’s not even close,” Trump said in his tweets. He de­clared that he “won’t be read­ing ET again!” us­ing the wrong ini­tials to de­scribe the Chris­tian pub­li­ca­tion.

John­nie Moore, a mem­ber of Trump’s evan­gel­i­cal ad­vi­sory board, tweeted that dur­ing the “hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing” over the “in­con­se­quen­tial” edi­to­rial, he was at Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence’s res­i­dence, “where dozens of evan­gel­i­cals who ac­tu­ally lead MIL­LIONS were cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas undis­tracted by im­peach­ment & grate­ful” for the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies.

Adding that Chris­tian­ity To­day “only rep­re­sents a cer­tain seg­ment of evan­gel­i­cals,” Moore tweeted that “this is not a game chang­ing mo­ment or hardly a sur­prise.”


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump waves dur­ing a sum­mit on trans­form­ing men­tal health treat­ment to com­bat home­less­ness, vi­o­lence, and sub­stance abuse, at the he Eisen­hower Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fice Build­ing on the White House com­plex in Wash­ing­ton, Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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