“If someone punches you, punch them back ten times harder and you will be blessed.” The Gospel of Trump
There is no actual Gospel of Trump, but the above quote is a paraphrase of what Trump and his supporters have said many times and apparently believe. Many of those same followers claim to believe in Christian values, so my challenge to them is to search the Gospels and find one example of Jesus saying anything similar to that.
In reality, Jesus said just the opposite, many times: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:27, 31; Matthew 7:12; 22:36-40). Other New Testament writers affirmed what Jesus said: Romans 12:17, 21; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.
Trump once said his favorite verse was “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24). This is what Jesus said about that: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evildoer. On the contrary, whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.” (Matthew 5:38-39, 44; Luke 6:29)
Trump also bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote. At a Las Vegas rally on Feb. 22, 2016, Trump said of a protestor, “I’d like to punch him in the face,” a sentiment he frequently expressed. His followers cheered, expressing their support for the idea of retaliation. Trump is happy to attack, but when it comes to criticism against him, he can’t handle it.
In Trump’s mind, anyone who doesn’t fawn all over him is worthy of attack. I don’t know what’s inside Trump’s heart and soul, but I know what comes out of his mouth and what his actions are. (Matthew 15:18-19, Luke 6:43-45) For evangelicals to continue to admire this man is worse than disgusting; it’s almost heresy. It seems that for these folks, when it comes to following Christ’s example or Trump’s, Trump wins.
Trump has no sense or knowledge of history, including the fact that presidents have been mocked and satirized since the founding of our country. President Abraham Lincoln was vilified mercilessly. His detractors called him an ape and frequently threatened him with assassination, something he and President Barack Obama have in common. These attacks depressed and discouraged Lincoln, but he responded with humor and dignity.
President Gerald Ford was lampooned on Saturday Night Live, and he was able to laugh. President Richard Nixon even went on “Laugh-In” and made fun of himself. President Ronald Reagan used well-timed quips to deflect criticism, without viciously attacking his detractors. Presidents know disapproval comes with the job, and they recognize the need to rise above it.
Trump is unable to do this. His self-esteem is so low that he can’t let anything go. He even recently attacked Chelsea Clinton when she had done nothing to him, because he felt insulted by someone.
When Trump claimed falsely that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., he opened a flood of fake news. He lied for years about Obama’s birth certificate. Then, on Sept. 16, 2016, in 10 words, he backed away from the whole claim, with no explanation for why he changed his mind. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
Trump never apologized for all his lies about Obama, yet somehow Trump feels he should be above even being confronted with the truth and constructive criticism. Anyone who doesn’t love him and everything he says and does becomes the enemy and worthy of contempt.
For eight years, President Obama and his family were viciously attacked, and they responded with maturity and grace. Trump is so insecure, he lashes out at anyone who fails to praise him as he feels he deserves. Instead of doing his job, he responds as a child would.
Trump seems to have the thinnest skin of any president in American history. If a foreign dictator flatters him, he’s ready to give them whatever they want, while he attacks allies who try to get him to act responsibly. He puts the care and feeding of his ego above his duty to protect the American people.
He behaves in ways that would horrify most of us if our children acted like that. And those who keep enabling him to behave this way are going to have to answer for their support of this man, now and in eternity.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.