The latest Fox News poll has Donald Trump in the lead in South Carolina. Generally speaking, that doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me–in fact, it blows my mind–is Trump’s support among alleged evangelical voters. I say alleged because I’m not sure how someone can call themselves an evangelical Christian and cast a vote for someone like Donald Trump. It’s like saying you’re a Christian, but you also give a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood.
There’s an attraction to Trump among people who’ve had it with the Washington leviathan. The American people are looking for someone to slay the beast–not join it–and they see Trump as someone who will do just that. Regardless of his endless flip-flops and vapid rhetoric, Trump’s brash personality, and anti-PC bloviating have convinced a great many people that he’s the man who will change Washington.
For me, Ted Cruz is the best pick to truly change Washington. He has a proven record of fighting outside opposition, as well as corruption within his own party. More than that, Ted Cruz is a man of principle, while Donald Trump is a foul-mouthed chameleon. Despite this, the new Fox News poll has Trump leading Cruz among “white evangelicals” in South Carolina 31% to 23%. Thirty-one percent of alleged evangelical Christians plan to vote for Trump.
Let’s go over Trump’s history–a history that shouldn’t be very appealing to Christian voters:
Trump only became pro-life because his friend’s kid was cool
During an 1999 interview with Tim Russert, Trump said he was “pro-choice in every respect.”
RUSSERT: “Partial-birth abortion. The eliminating of abortion in the third trimester. Big issue in Washington. Would President Trump ban partial-birth abortion?”
TRUMP: “Well look, I’m very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when is listen to people debating the subject. But, you still–I just believe in choice. Again, it may be a little bit of a New York background, because there is some different attitude in different parts of the country…but I am strongly for choice, and yet I hate the concept of abortion.”
RUSSERT: “But you would not ban it?”
RUSSERT: “Or partial-birth abortion.”
TRUMP: “No. I am pro-choice in every respect.”
So he hated the “concept of abortion,” but was in favor of allowing it. Even partial-birth abortion. What did he hate so much about it? Perhaps that it’s a barbaric and horrific procedure? That’s like saying you absolutely hate the concept of slavery, but you don’t want to outlaw it.
Trump has since “evolved” on the issue. I’ll accept that. Many people have come to see the light over the years, my father included. But the manner by which he decided to be pro-life is–lets just say it’s cringeworthy.
During the first Republican debate on August 6, Trump said:
“Friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar–a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances. I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.”
When Jamie Weinstein of The Daily Caller asked Trump if he’d have become pro-life if the kid had been a “loser” instead of a superstar, Trump replied:
“Probably not, but I’ve never thought of it. I would say no, but in this case it was an easy one because he’s such an outstanding person.”
Wow. So, Trump decided to become pro-life not because of the hideous nature of the abortion procedure, but because his friend’s kid happened to turn out cool. Being pro-life, that answer scares me to death, and it should scare any Christian as much as it scares me.
Trump supports funding of Planned Parenthood
Over the course of the campaign, Donald Trump has said many times that Planned Parenthood serves a good purpose, aside from the “abortion part.” He told Hannity in an interview last summer that he supports funding the abortion giant because abortion is a “small part of what they do”:
TRUMP: “Let’s say there are two Planned Parenthoods, in a way. You have it as an abortion clinic. Now that’s actually a fairly small part of what they do. But it’s a brutal part, and I’m totally against it, and I wouldn’t do that. They also, however, service women…We have to help women. A lot of women are helped. So we have to look at the positives also.”
Hannity actually replied brilliantly, noting the concept of financial fungibility:
“But if they are doing abortions, they can allocate their other resources to other things. Why should the taxpayers pay for [it]?”
This week, in an interview with David Brody of CBN, Trump finally said he’d sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood if it came to his desk as president. However, he still praised all the “good things” they do, and was open to funding it if they stopped doing abortions.
Trump called his sexual exploits his “personal Vietnam”
The following exchange occurred during a 1997 interview with Howard Stern (WARNING: The content of this video may not be suitable for everyone):
TRUMP: “It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of.”
STERN: “Hey it’s your personal Vietnam isn’t it?”
TRUMP: “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier!”
STERN: “A lot of guys who went through Vietnam came out unscathed. A lot of guys going through the 80’s having sex with different women came out with AIDS and all kinds of things.”
TRUMP: “This is better than Vietnam, but it’s uh… it’s more fun.”
Trump “allegedly” mocked a handicapped reporter
During a November rally in South Carolina, Trump allegedly mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a condition of the joints. The disability is most notable in Kovaleski’s right arm, which is retracted to his side.
We all have shortcomings, but mocking someone with a disability in front of a crowd of thousands doesn’t seem very Christian. For the record, Trump denies he was making fun of Kovaleski’s disability.
Here’s a side-by-side of Trump and Kovaleski. Judge for yourself:
Trump tried to use eminent domain to push an elderly woman off her land
In the mid-90’s, Trump wanted to use a particular piece of land as a parking lot for a proposed casino. The only thing standing in his way was Vera Coking, an elderly woman who’d lived on the property for decades.
National Review writes:
“Vera Coking had owned property near the Trump Plaza Hotel for three decades, and didn’t want to move. Trump thought the land was better suited for use as a park, a parking lot, and a waiting area for limousines. He tried to negotiate, at one point offering Coking $1 million for the land. But she wasn’t budging. So New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority filed a lawsuit, instructing Coking to leave within 90 days and offering compensation of only $251,000.”
Fortunately for Coking, the suit was dropped in 1998.
Coking said of Trump:
“Heart? He doesn’t have no heart, that man.”
Trump couldn’t name a single bible verse
Trump boasts about how much he loves the bible. Given that, it comes across as very odd that when asked by Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin to name a few of his favorite verses, Trump became very cagey:
TRUMP: “I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal.”
He goes on to bumble through further justification. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never met a Christian who, when asked to talk about the bible, refuses to do so–even in passing.
Let’s just say that if someone asked me after whom I’d like to model my Christianity, it wouldn’t be Donald Trump. How Trump can be capturing 31% of South Carolina’s alleged evangelical vote is astounding.
To all Christians in South Carolina, before you cast your vote this Saturday, consider Donald Trump’s policy. But more than that, consider his behavior; consider the man for whom you’re voting.