Donald Trump’s appearance at Friday’s Values Voter Summit included more of his usual hypocrisies and Bizzaro-world remarks. There have been so many that we’ve lost count and Trump’s supporters clearly aren’t going to let facts and logic get in the way of their vote regardless.
The very sight of Trump addressing a roomful of conservative Christians is right out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit. In other words, utterly absurd and comical. This is a man who owned casinos. As in where gambling occurs. And prostitution prospers. A man who has been married three times. Who demonstrates no familiarity with the Bible and can’t correctly quote a passage, even when reading off a script. A man who mocks the disabled and curses during rallies and who won’t release his tax returns because presumably he doesn’t donate to charitable causes other than his own faux foundation.
Trump is not a pious man, to put it mildly. Yet, there he was preaching to an audience of supportive Christians who vote their values, raising the question: Do they now value gambling, prostitution, misogyny, racism and ignorance?
More troubling than the theater of the absurd setting was the substance of his speech. He praised Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT group so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels it a hate group. He promised that Christian heritage will be “protected like you’ve never seen before,” a vow that should send chills throughout the LGBT community for Trump’s repeated calls for a federal “religious freedom” law. He referenced “religious liberty” in the speech amid his criticism of Supreme Court justices who “rewrite the Constitution to impose their own personal views on 300 million-plus Americans.” We know that means appointing justices who would overturn the marriage equality ruling. Trump went on to praise Antonin Scalia as the “ultimate example of what we’re looking for” in a justice. He promised to fight for “family values” and then praised Phyllis Schlafly, a right-wing homophobe who spoke out against women’s rights, gay rights and trans rights right up until she died two weeks ago.
Most improbably, Trump also attacked the media for demeaning people of faith, bemoaning how hard it is to raise children “in today’s media environment.”
You mean the same media environment that published nude photos of your third wife??? The hypocrisy is so blatant and shameless that your head could explode listening to it all. Melania Trump was paid to appear naked in magazines published by big media companies; she is complicit in creating the very tawdry media culture inappropriate for children that her husband now criticizes.
And, no, this is not about “slut shaming,” though I’d submit that we don’t want our country represented on the world stage by a first lady best known for entertaining the masses by taking off her clothes. Melania for first stripper! I’d also submit that if Michelle Obama had been photographed naked, the right-wing racist hypocrites wouldn’t have allowed her husband within 100 yards of the White House.
But, again, none of this matters because, as Hillary Clinton intimated, many of his supporters aren’t thinking people. That’s putting it diplomatically. As the Atlantic reported this week, “When Hillary Clinton claims that half of Trump’s supporters qualify as ‘racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,’ data is on her side.” Indeed, two-thirds of voters with a favorable opinion of Trump believe President Obama is a Muslim, and a quarter believe that Scalia was murdered, according to a poll from Public Policy Polling.
When facts don’t matter, there’s no limit to the demagoguery you’ll fall for. When conservative — and even fundamentalist — Christians are cheering for Trump, you know we’ve reached a new and frightening time when emotions rule, logic and intellect are deemed “elitist” and thus bad, and loony, narcissistic demagogues come to power.
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at email@example.com.