Evangelical ‘Leaders’ Who Endorsed Trump in 2016 Now Say They Won’t Support Him in 2024

Good, bad, or indifferent, Trump is running again for president. If you thought 2020 and 2022 were ones for the record books, a Trump candidacy, along with a crowded Republican field that could potentially include former Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Ron DeSantis, Governor Glenn Youngkin, and a host of other Republican retreads (looking at you, Nikki Haley) is going to make for a wild election season.

As expected, the Never Trumpers and the legacy media are having a meltdown. Oddly, so are certain evangelical leaders who were all on board with Trump in 2016, and some in 2020. Now that Trump has made his intentions known for 2024, some are saying that the age of Trump is over.

They’re just not that into him.

Evangelical figures who previously supported Donald Trump are backing off now that he’s announced his third bid for the presidency.

Donald Trump can’t save America,” Mike Evans told The Washington Post. “He can’t even save himself.”

Ouch.

Mike Evans continued to whine like a jilted lover.

“He used us to win the White House. We had to close our mouths and eyes when he said things that horrified us,” Evans told the newspaper. “I cannot do that anymore.”

Who asked him to? Was this not his choice? And did he not use Trump as much as Trump supposedly used him?

That same WaPo article quotes Life Outreach International president James Robison calling Trump a child.

Tell us something we didn’t know, James.

Throughout Trump’s presidential runs and his term in office, the legacy media made hay about Trump and his temper tantrums. But suddenly Trump’s behavior is beyond the pale, and these religious leaders, wrapping themselves in moral virtue, have only now decided they just can’t take it anymore.

A televangelist who served as a spiritual adviser to Donald Trump says the former president has the tendency to act “like a little elementary schoolchild” and suggests that Trump’s focus on minor spats was preventing progress on larger goals.

“If Mr. Trump can’t stop his little petty issues, how does he expect people to stop major issues?” James Robison, the president of the Christian group Life Outreach International, said Wednesday night at a meeting of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL), a conservative political group that focuses on social issues.

This is the same James Robison who said of Trump in 2016:

“Donald Trump was a supernatural answer to prayer,” Robison told the author. “For the people who were concerned about a government masquerading as God and that it needed to be brought under control, he was their prayer being answered. Most people just never dreamed it would be somebody that was totally disconnected from politics.”

When did all this high praise and “move of God” language turn into criticism? One thing I admire (and some hate) about Trump is that he hasn’t moderated, hasn’t changed, hasn’t bowed to pressure to be different or act differently. He’s the same person who exploded on the political scene in 2016. So, was it not God’s sovereign will that Trump was elected? If God does not change, and neither does Trump, what is exactly the problem?

Another evangelical who was big on riding The Trump Train was Dr. Robert Jeffress. While he has not outright rejected Trump, he is hedging his bets.

Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s evangelical advisers during the 2016 campaign and a longtime supporter, said he’s not ready to endorse him again.

“The Republican Party is headed toward a civil war that I have no desire or need to be part of,” Jeffress told Newsweek, adding that he would “happily” support Trump again if he wins the nomination.

As my colleague Bob Hoge reported, Fox News has made it plain they want nothing to do with Trump. Their eyes are on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Jeffress is a regular Fox News contributor, and knows which side his bread is buttered on. Jeffress is also a close friend of former Vice President Mike Pence.

Guess who Jeffress is promoting these days?

You hate to see it. It appears his political allegiance has shifted to Pence.

Good luck with that.

In June of 2016, Trump held a large meeting in New York with Evangelical leaders across the nation, seeking their support. Trump made certain promises, in particular, that he would fight for religious freedoms, only appoint Supreme Court judges that supported the right to life, and defund Planned Parenthood.

Despite his failures and other missteps, Trump has been the most pro-life President in my lifetime. Unlike other Republican presidents, he didn’t just make a symbolic gesture of supporting life, he backed it with policy and action. Defunding Planned Parenthood is not up to him (still a matter for Congress), but the appointments and nominations of Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett — strong pro-life, pro-religious freedom, and originalist Supreme Court jurists — are Trump’s doing. The overturn of Roe v. Wade would not have happened had it not been for a President Donald J. Trump keeping his promises to evangelical leaders in 2016.

I cannot say I’m surprised, but I do find it more than a little distasteful. Not because these leaders’ allegiances shifted–this is politics and it happens all the time, especially with people who envision themselves as arbiters of God’s will and who are on the cusp of what’s happening next. What I find repugnant is the wholesale throwing under the bus a person who they claimed was akin to the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are the ones who elevated Trump and made him into something that he never presented, and therefore could never fulfill. Trump simply made his claims, ran a campaign that bested all the others on the field, and won the presidency against the odds.

The fact that he allowed these people to be his spiritual advisors leans toward what I personally consider his greatest flaw: his questionable judgment of the people he allows around him. We all remember Omarosa, Anthony Scaramucci, and now Alyssa Farah Griffin, who all dine out on their 15 Minutes of Trump Administration Fame, while trashing him on their way out the door. In these so-called Evangelical leaders’ eyes, Trump somehow failed in his words, behavior, and choices. Does this say more about Trump, or about the supposed spiritual counsel he received from them? Trump has never claimed to be anything more than what he is. This is what makes him both refreshing and infuriating. So, his behavior, his words, and what he chooses to focus upon–whether you love him or hate him–has been pretty consistent. He hasn’t changed, and perhaps therein lies the problem.

Should Trump become the Republican Party nominee for 2024, these same people will be on him again like a heat-seeking missile. I hope this time around Trump exhibits better judgment on who he chooses to have in his inner circle and who he solicits for spiritual guidance.

These clowns certainly are not the ones.

 

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