Republican Christians are not usually so divided when it comes to presidential election years, but then again, this has proven to not be a typical presidential election year. The most recent (and divisive) as of late is the recent Washington Post report about Trump’s vulgar conversation with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that was caught while aboard a bus preparing for an interview in 2005. Among other things, Donald Trump shared how he tried to “move on” Bush’s co-host at the time, Nancy O’Dell.
Bush offered an apology on NBC’s Today show on Friday, but this morning, the show announced that he has been relieved of his duties on the show for an undetermined time. Donald also offered an apology which has done nothing to calm down the recent uproar. In his apology, he stated the following.
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize … I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims.”
On Sunday night’s second presidential debate, Donald Trump was called on the carpet about the issue where he again apologized for his actions with a bit of a caveat. He told moderator Anderson Cooper, “Certainly I’m not proud of it, but this was locker room talk” which would seem to suggest that all men talk this way, something that some real athletes like Sean Doolittle, Chris Conley, Kendall Marshall, Jacob Tamme, and CJ McCollum among others have taken offense with.
— CNN (@CNN) October 10, 2016
But there are many who are still on Trump’s side, including actor Scott Baio, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July. Us magazine recently quoted Baio.
“First of all, I think 11 years ago Trump was a Democrat, so doesn’t he deserve a pass? I like Trump because Trump is not a politician; he talks like a guy,” Baio said. “And ladies out there, this is what guys talk about when you’re not around. So if you’re offended by it, grow up. And by the way, this is what you guys talk about over white wine when you have your brunches, so take it easy with your phony outrage. This is the way the world works. It’s not a big thing.”
More surprisingly is the support Donald Trump is still receiving from Christian leadership including Jerry Falwell Jr., Pat Robertson, and Dr. James Dobson. Each of them stated that they cannot condone Trump’s comments, but feel Americans need to move on from the comments he made 11 years ago.
“It was completely out of order, it’s not something I’m going to defend… it was reprehensible,” says Falwell Jr as published by the Christian Post Reporter this morning. “We’re all sinners, every one of us. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t. We’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot,” he added. “I’ve got a wife and a daughter, and nobody wants to hear their women talked about in that manner.”
Falwell Jr. also believes that a conspiracy has been at hand regarding the issue saying, “It’s nothing I can prove. It wasn’t a coincidence it came out right before Trump was supposed to appear with [House Speaker] Paul Ryan at a rally and it conveniently gave Paul Ryan a way to disinvite Trump. I can’t prove any of it, it’s my opinion.”
The Washington Post has reported that CBN founder Pat Robertson also thinks Christians should just forgive and forget. This morning on his 700 Club show, Robertson stated, “Let’s face it. A guy does something 11 years ago, there was a conversation in Hollywood where he’s trying to look like he’s macho,” Robertson said on his show, as first reported by Raw Story. “And 11 years after that, they surface it from The Washington Post to whatever, bring it out within 30 days or so of the election and this is supposed to be the death blow and everybody writes him off, ‘Okay, he’s dead, now you better get to get out of the way and let Mike Pence run the campaign’ … The next [debate] we’ll see what happens,” Robertson said. “But in the meantime, he speaks to adoring thousands wherever he goes.”
A long time supporter of Donald Trump, Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson is still standing in the candidate’s corner, but that seems to be wavering as well given his most recent comments. However, given the choice of Trump or Clinton, Trump is the better of the two.
“The comments Mr. Trump made 11 years ago were deplorable and I condemn them entirely. I also find Hillary Clinton’s support of partial birth abortion criminal and her opinion of evangelicals to be bigoted. There really is only one difference between the two. Mr. Trump promises to support religious liberty and the dignity of the unborn. Mrs. Clinton promises she will not.”
Theologian Wayne Grudem, a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminar, says that he regrets his earlier endorsement of the candidate reports the Christian Post. “I previously called Donald Trump a ‘good candidate with flaws’ and a ‘flawed candidate’ but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.”
And then there is Max Lucado who says Trump has failed the decency test.
“I don’t know Mr. Trump. But I’ve been chagrined at his antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made a mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to a former first lady, Barbara Bush, as ‘mommy’ and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people ‘stupid’ and ‘dummy.’ One writer cataloged 64 occasions that he called someone ‘loser.’ These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded and presented … Such insensitivities wouldn’t be acceptable even for a middle school student body election. But for the Oval Office? And to do so while brandishing a Bible and boasting of his Christian faith?”
— (((g))) (@monkeyes2) October 5, 2016
But, is all of that vulgar “locker room talk” just from the past? According to Kelsey Sutton of Politico, there are those who believe Trump said more of the same while filming the reality show The Apprentice for NBC. Sutton even says that the television producer of the show, Mark Burnett (who is also an outspoken Christian) warned his staff that he wouldn’t hesitate suing them if they leaked footage from the show to the press. Some Apprentice show insiders have gone on record saying that Mr. Trump “repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, … rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.” Today, both Burnett and NBC have insisted that they do not have any footage to share stating that they don’t own the footage. That’s a shame according to Bill Pruitt who was a producer for the show’s first and second season. “As a producer on seasons 1 & 2 of #theapprentice I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse,” he tweeted.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]