January 29, 2023

FRANKLY SPURNED: Donald Trump’s evangelical sniping has already cost him

FRANKLY SPURNED: Donald Trump's evangelical sniping has already cost him

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Beginning in 2016, the evangelical voting block held their noses and supported Donald Trump, because of his promises on abortion and other right-wing agenda items.


However, after granting their wish list, he’s finally managed to alienate them to a degree that could affect his electability, with even Franklin Graham refusing to say whether he’ll support the former president again.

Incident after incident that should have been the end of Trump’s political career — calling immigrants rapists and drug dealers, Stormy Daniels coming forward about their illicit sexual affair, asking a foreign nation to hack and leak information about an opponent — has instead shaved off only thin slivers of support.

However, these last few ‘slivers’ have been more significant, and Graham, who even floated the possibility of supporting Trump a decade ago, if he’d run against then-incumbent Barack Obama, says he’s staying out of primaries.

In a recent Truth Social post, Trump lashed out over Republican opposition to abortion, recognizing that his success in placing anti-choice Justices on the Supreme Court and ripping away (albeit after his exit from the White House) basic reproductive rights damaged his party in the midterm elections, but insisting it wasn’t his “fault.”

Instead, he blamed “the people that pushed so hard…against abortion” and then “disappeared.”

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Later, as evangelicals withheld endorsements, Trump called it disloyalty.

Now, CBS has an answer from Graham, son of one of the most influential evangelical extremists in recent American history, and a far-right pastor and influencer himself:

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“I’m going to stay out of it until after the primaries have finished,” Graham told CBS News before he gave the closing prayer at the March for Life rally on Friday in Washington, D.C.

He also warned that no candidate should assume they have the support of evangelical voters, declaring it “always up for grabs.”

Check out Trump on the Water Cooler program last week, describing this as disloyalty.

The host specifically brings up Pastor Robert Jeffress, who recently hosted former Vice president Mike Pence at his megachurch.

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Jeffress, it turns out, also weighed in, telling CBS that he’s talked to Trump since that appearance, and that he’s still a supporter of the Mar-a-Lago resident’s effort to return to the White House, but that he just feels it’s still too early to endorse, and that he should “keep [his] powder dry for right now.”

Graham, incidentally, also recently hosted Pence, at the Billy Graham Library for a signing of his new book.

Can Trump — if he manages to stay out of prison before the 2024 election — run a successful campaign without the support of evangelicals?

If nothing else, it will be interesting to find out.

Follow Steph Bazzle on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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