MSNBC host Joe Scarborough used Thursday morning’s edition of Morning Joe to attack the evangelical Christian leaders that appeared for a White House photograph with Donald Trump, Newsweek reports. The former U.S. congressman made the comment while speaking about the evangelical leaders defending Trump in the wake of the Christianity Today op-ed that called for the president’s removal from office.
According to Scarborough, such leaders are turning their backs on their core beliefs.
“[T]he evangelicals that you and I grew up around, still, many go to church and worship the Lord, and keep politics out of it. But…there are very loud, very outspoken people — leaders of the faith — who actually have basically turned their back on basic core beliefs that you can find in the Sermon on the Mount [and] in Jesus’s parables just for a White House photo. Just for the ability to appear on TV as one of the president’s selected preachers.”
Scarborough said that one evangelical pastor claimed the reason many evangelical leaders are supporting Trump is fear of being attacked by the president.
Although evangelicals have been a crucial base of support for the president, the Christianity Today op-ed suggested there are fractures in this support. Despite these cracks, a letter condemning the op-ed and signed by nearly 180 evangelical leaders suggested that Trump appears to have retained the support of many of them. In addition, The Christian Post reportedly plans to post a pro-Trump op-ed in response to Christianity Today‘s.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 26, 2019
The planned article — which allegedly attacks Christianity Today — led to the resignation of The Christian Post‘s politics editor, Napp Nazworth.
“I never got the gist they were gung-ho Trumpian types,” Nazworth said of the publication, which has traditionally remained relatively neutral and posted pieces both critical and supportive of Trump.
Per BBC, the evangelical Christian support of Trump follows a pattern that has been observed for years. Since 2004, white, born-again, and evangelical Christians have generally voted Republican. But this pattern doesn’t account for all of Trump’s evangelical support, as he has reportedly matched or exceeded support from this demographic compared to the amount won by President George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012.
According to a Pew study in October, white Christians make up about two-thirds of Republicans and one-quarter of Democrats, suggesting that Democrats will not be gaining evangelical support anytime soon, despite signs of cracks in Trump’s Christian base.