Donald Trump got his holiday vacation at Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, underway on Thursday with a holiday party where he hosted a group of his supporters — including one leading Christian evangelical who celebrated the event by invoking the only atomic bomb attacks in world history. Ahead of the party, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. jubilantly predicted victory for Trump in the 2020 election, taking to his Twitter account to call the election, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the Dems!”
Falwell’s reference was to the atomic bombings of those two Japanese cities by the United States on August 6 and August 9, 1945. The Hiroshima bombing flattened about 90 percent of the city and killed approximately 150,000, according to the Children of the Atomic Bomb project at the University of California at Los Angeles. Another 75,000 were killed in Nagasaki. Six days after the Nagasaki atomic bombing, Japan announced its surrender to end World War II.
At the time of the bombings, Hiroshima had an estimated population of 330,000, while Nagasaki had about 250,000 residents.
Falwell also said in his tweet that the impeachment of Trump by Democrats in the House of Representatives was “their Pearl Harbor,” referring to the December 7, 1941, Japanese surprise attack on a U.S. Navy base in Hawaii.
Why Falwell made an analogy between the deadly World War II attacks and Trump’s impeachment, as well as the 2020 presidential election, was unclear. But his statement came on the same day that one of the leading U.S. Christian evangelical publications, Christianity Today Magazine, published an editorial calling for Trump to be removed from office through the impeachment process.
The editorial was seen as a sign that Trump’s crucial support among his evangelical base of voters could be in doubt, which would be a significant setback for the incumbent. In a Marist University poll published earlier this month, 75 percent of white Christian evangelical voters said that they approved of Trump’s performance in office. The same poll showed only 42 percent approval of Trump among all voters — meaning that evangelicals support Trump at almost twice the rate of the general public.
If by comparing the 2020 election to the devastating atomic bombings Falwell meant to say that Democrats would suffer an apocalyptic defeat, his prediction does not appear to be born out by current polling. In a recent Fox News poll, both Democrat Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Trump in head-to-head matchups by seven points, and six points respectively.
Christianity Today was founded in 1956 by evangelical preacher Billy Graham. But Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, has been another leading evangelical Trump supporter. On Thursday, the younger Graham took to Twitter to claim that his father cast his final presidential vote, before his death in 2018, for Trump.