In possibly the biggest surprise of the week, the left-leaning Guardian newspaper has spoken out in defense of brash right-wing presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Priests should beware of attacking those who at least have the guts to seek the public’s verdict on their views.”
Trump “at least [has] the guts to seek the public’s verdict on their views,” scoffs the editorial. According to the Guardian, this puts Trump a step above the pope, who sequesters himself in the Vatican and draws his authority from his followers’ “supernatural” belief that he has a direct line to god.
The pope should beware of criticising Trump. The church has its own walls and damnations | Simon Jenkins https://t.co/hDCA1NfApw
— The Guardian (@guardian) February 19, 2016
Trump gets in fight with … the pope | US news | The Guardian https://t.co/63qa2ANp96
— John B. Driscoll (@stewardmagazine) February 19, 2016
While the Guardian stresses that Trump’s views on immigration are “appalling,” the secular, liberal rag praises the American mogul for his freshness.
“Trump has tapped into the craving for authenticity, for the real not the synthetic, the strongly-held view, however appalling.”
It follows criticism leveled by Pope Francis at Trump. The Pope attacked Trump for his immigration policies following his return from a visit to Mexico, according to ABC.
“Anyone, whoever he is, who only wants to build walls and not bridges is not a Christian.
“Vote, don’t vote, I won’t meddle. But I simply say, if [Trump] says these things, this man is not a Christian.”
Francis was referring to Trump’ plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to Trump’s anti-immigrant stance in general.
Now, Donald Trump calls the Pope a 'disgrace' https://t.co/ea8pUEZ9d7
— Rakesh Dwivedi (@iRakeshDwivedi) February 19, 2016
Trump responded swiftly, saying that he is a Christian and not even the pope can take that away from him.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.
“I am proud to be a Christian and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened.”
Trump previously urged Christians in America to boycott Starbucks after evangelicals complained that the company’s Christmas holiday cups were not Christian enough.
The same people bemoaning the "War on Christianity" because of Starbucks cups are generally the ones siding with Donald Trump over the Pope.
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) February 19, 2016
— Ed Page Courant (@EdPageCourant) November 17, 2015
Trump has also praised the pope since Francis made his attack. Sky News reports thatthe mogul thinks the pope has been watching the wrong types of media and television programs about Trump and his beliefs.
Trump even speculated that Pope Francis may have seen a program created by the Mexican government.
“I think [the Pope] said something much softer than it was originally reported by the media. I think that he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the Mexican government.
“He didn’t see the tremendous strain that the border is causing us with respect to illegal immigration, with the drugs pouring across the border.”
Trump added that he has “a lot of respect” for the Catholic leader.
[Guardian Science] Kasich talks problems with Obamacare as Sanders discusses immigration – campaign live https://t.co/YOkLt04P2v
— CH Sci (@sputnik_nyc) February 19, 2016
— Tom Smith (@TomSmithGerman) February 18, 2016
Trump has previously fanned anti-immigrant sentiment by saying that Mexico sends rapists and drug-runners across the U.S. border, imperiling America and its people.
Trump’s spirited attacks on rivals and his colorful, occasionally crass and vicious attacks on his foes appear to have strengthened his position in the polls.
Trump’s Republican rival Jeb Bush made an ambiguous statement about the pope’s attack on Trump, saying he felt it was wrong to question anyone’s relationship with God. Bush added a jab at Trump, when he said the pope should not be encouraging Trump by paying attention to him.
“It only enables bad behaviour when someone from outside our country talks about Donald Trump.”
Trump pulled ISIS into the mix, saying the Muslim extremists would love to attack the pope, and Francis’ best bet for protection would be a Trump-led America.
“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’ ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president.”
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]